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Highlighting Nipawin’s acute care team on National Nursing Week

It's National Nursing Week.
Nipawin Acute Care nursing staff: Amber Barrie, Gillian Eastwood, Joel Allison, Joelle Hosaluk, Karen Day, Myla Nagano, Doug Gudnason.

NIPAWIN - National Nursing Week, May 6-12, is an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions nurses make across the healthcare system. The Canadian Nursing Association has themed this year’s nursing week, changing lives and shaping tomorrow. spoke with Amber Barrie, RN and manager of the clinical services department at the Nipawin Hospital, who said the most rewarding part of her career as a nurse is the patients and their families.

“Knowing that I can make a difference in what is often a difficult and stressful time for them. Whether it’s a quick trip to the ER or taking their child or loved one in for surgery, or during a hospital stay, I find it rewarding to know that I can help by making a difficult situation feel a little less difficult,” said Barrie, who has been an RN since 2005 at Nipawin’s hospital.

Barrie, the mother of three boys, grew up in Hudson Bay in rural northeast Saskatchewan said, “I think I have always wanted to help people and make a positive impact in people’s lives. I became a lifeguard when I was 16 and I think the lifesaving part became important to me and led me to where I am today.”

Barrie said healthcare has changed a great deal in the field.

“Technology has made resources easier to access, including education for staff. Over the years, the focus has shifted to patient- and family-centred care, what’s best for the patient and their family, including patients and family in healthcare decisions and care they receive. There has been a large focus put on making healthcare safer for all, including patients and staff — physically, spiritually and culturally.

Barrie credits the team around her.

Gillian Eastwood is an RN and manager of acute care nursing. She has worked at the Nipawin hospital as an RN since Jan 2014 and became the manager of acute care in June 2020. Eastwood is from Regina but both her parents are from Nipawin.

“I still have lots of family in the area. I was happy to do my preceptorship in Nipawin and stay with family. Nipawin had lots of job opportunities vs. the city centers.”

She said that she loves fishing and being able to launch their boat into the river 15 minutes from their house is a wonderful perk in Nipawin.

Eastwood said, “The most rewarding part is putting patients at ease. I love all aspects of patient care. I really love labour and delivery and being there to welcome new life into this world.” 

Eastwood said the biggest challenge in nursing has been the decrease in the amount of students and new nurses coming to rural areas. “We used to have four or five new grads, LPN/RN, but in the last few years, we have only had one or two. We have been experiencing major shortages and with several mat leaves; we are heavily needing contract nurses. We used to only need contracts during summer holidays but now need them year-round. They are great but different than full-time staff.”

Joelle Hosaluk has been an LPN at the Nipawin hospital for 15 years and is a proud mother of three children. Hosaluk became a nurse to help make a difference in people's lives and finds having access to mental health support for their patients and transportation as one of the challenges in rural Saskatchewan.

Douglas Gudnason has been the RN assistant manager for the OR/ER in Nipawin. Gudnason's experience has been in trauma and emergency nursing and the OR for 14 years before moving to management the last two years. Gudnason is a father of four and coaches competitive gymnastics. He finds enjoyment in making work life easier for nursing staff and coworkers by increasing their capabilities and updating their equipment in the Nipawin hospital. Gudnason said that everyone, doctors, nurses, lab and x-ray, all the way to housekeepers, desk clerks all ensure hospitals run efficiently with their support.

For more information on National Nursing Week, click here: