Health Canada

Health Canada

May 06, 2013 11:00 ET

Minister of Health Congratulates the Winners of the 2013 National Award of Excellence in Nursing

Three dedicated nurses are recognized during National Nursing Week

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 6, 2013) - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, acknowledged three exceptional nurses for their dedication, initiative and high standard of excellence in service to First Nations and Inuit communities. At the eleventh Annual First Nations and Inuit Health Branch Award of Excellence in Nursing ceremony in Ottawa, the winners were awarded the National Award of Excellence in Nursing for their hard work and commitment within their community.

"Nurses provide a crucial service, delivering direct healthcare services in First Nations and Inuit communities," said Minister Aglukkaq. "I am honoured to recognize Joan Belanger, Gail Nahmabin and Marie McPherson for improving the health of Aboriginal communities. Advanced knowledge, practical experience and unwavering compassion in the nursing field contribute greatly to the overall health of First Nations and Inuit."

Nurses in rural and remote communities play an important role. In many cases, nurses are the only front line providers for those receiving health care in remote and isolated communities where doctors are not always available. This comes with tremendous responsibility, and they often encounter unique and difficult challenges in delivering health care.

The Award of Excellence in Nursing was created in 2003 to acknowledge the hard work, devotion and commitment of nurses in First Nation and Inuit communities. Each year, nurses are nominated by their supervisors, peers and fellow community members. Three nurses are selected annually to receive this designation. Award recipients will receive a bursary towards career development training.

For additional information on this year's award recipients, please view the attached backgrounder.

For more information on nursing employment opportunities in First Nation and Inuit communities, please visit Health Canada's Nursing Profiles page.

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May 2013
Health Canada's Eleventh Annual First Nations and Inuit Health
Branch Award of Excellence in Nursing

Three registered nurses employed by Health Canada, First Nations and Inuit communities are being recognized during National Nursing Week for their dedication, initiative and high standard of excellence in service.

This year's recipients are:

Joan Belanger - Bearskin Lake, Ontario

Joan is employed by Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) as the Nurse in Charge at the Bearskin Lake First Nation Nursing Station. Joan has been working with FNIHB since 2005 and has been in the role of Nurse in Charge since 2010. She obtained her Nursing Diploma in 1976 from Fanshawe College, Woodstock Campus School, and continues to further her nursing knowledge through additional courses and certificate programs. Her goal for 2013 is to obtain a diploma in Addictions Education at McMaster University. Joan has extensive nursing experience; prior to working with FNIHB, she worked in both homecare and hospital settings. Joan has been instrumental in initiating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle weight-loss program, as well as a detox program to improve the lives of individuals and their families in her community. She is recognized as delivering client care with compassion, empathy and dedication in her role, as well as providing excellent nursing care.

Gail Nahmabin - Chippewas of Sarnia, Ontario

With a strong desire to promote healthy living in her community, Gail has worked as a Community Health Nurse for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation since 1995. She is well-known for being a seasoned professional and an advocate for health services in her community. She has mentored many nursing students and has helped to develop and guide new nurses. She is described as warm and compassionate with a sound knowledge of nursing practices. Gail was born and raised on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. She received her Diploma in Nursing from Lambton College and has a wealth of knowledge she obtained from her additional studies in Community Health Nursing and various other health courses. Gail is committed to providing excellent nursing care to all her patients and their families through her advanced knowledge and previous nursing experience.

Marie McPherson - Sachs Harbour, Northwest Territoires

Marie is the Nurse in Charge at the Sachs Harbour Health Centre. She has been a devoted nurse and caretaker, providing excellent nursing services to this community for over 10 years. Marie obtained her Registered Nurse Diploma in 1970 from St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing and has continued to take additional courses over the years to advance her knowledge of nursing. Before moving to Northern Canada in 1997 to become a Community Health Nurse, Marie's career included nursing positions at various hospitals both nationally and internationally, obtaining extensive experience in Coronary and Intensive Care. While working in Yellowknife, she also attended a six month outpost nursing program, which allowed her to practice and develop her nursing skills in many different areas of nursing. Marie is known for going above and beyond as she delivers excellent nursing care to her community. Based on her knowledge and experience, she is able to provide solid judgment, which is well received by community members.

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada

    Cailin Rodgers
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Public Enquiries:
    (613) 957-2991
    1-866 225-0709