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In honour of National Nursing Week, hear from some of our dedicated and compassionate nurses

National Nursing Week is a time for us to thank our nurses for their contributions and for continuing to care for the health and well-being of children across the province.
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​This year National Nursing Week runs from May 9-15 and to celebrate it we’re shining the spotlight on just a few of our compassionate and committed nurses at BC Children’s Hospital. 

Read on to hear from our nurses about what keeps them motivated, what their most memorable experiences have been and their advice for the next generation of nurses.

Michelle Hodson, general duty nurse, Medical Inpatient Unit

Michelle Hodson has a deep love for her profession. 

“Being a pediatric nurse is what I dreamed of becoming since I was 10 years old, and I still feel like it is what I am meant to do,” she says. “I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment knowing that I have made even a small difference in the lives of my little patients.”

She counts it as a privilege to be a part of her patient’s journeys, noting the importance of what she learns from her patients and their families, including lessons in humility, grace and triumph. 

Having been a nurse at BC Children’s Hospital for 26 years, Michelle shares her advice for the next generation of nurses. “Nursing is a profession that is full of highs and lows, and to be successful is to be patient while you navigate the low times. My advice is to keep an open mind, stay empathetic and look for the moments of joy found in the small and simple things – the appreciative smile of a parent, the giggle of a baby and a shared laugh with a co-worker.”

Kelly Collins, clinical nurse educator, Healthy Minds Centre

For Kelly, making a difference in peoples’ lives, having meaningful connections, and being there with people through some of the most joyous and challenging times in life is at the heart of nursing.

She also truly enjoys that she’s in a role where learning is always happening and encouraged. “I have the privilege of working in a position where I strive to empower and support other nurses to move from beginner to expert within their scope of practice. Seeing other nurses excel in their field is so rewarding, and our patients reap these rewards!”

For the nurses of tomorrow, Kelly shares her words of wisdom for those just beginning their career.

“Trust yourself! You came into this profession for a reason, with many gifts and strengths to share,” says Kelly. “Give your self grace and self compassion, and continue to learn and grow. And always take care of yourself so you can continue to care for others.”

Susan Failanga, clinical nurse, Biochemical Genetics Clinic

For more than 40 years, Susan has been dedicated to providing care to children. 

“I always look forward going to work and knowing that every day is different, I welcome the challenges,” says Susan. “Seeing children get better and hearing their voices, it keeps my spirits up.”

Susan counts her colleagues and great working relationships as a highlight over the course of her career, as well as the advancement of medicine to help improve outcomes. 

“During the years that I have worked as an acute bedside nurse I recalled the changes that amazed me, including witnessing the miracle of transplantation and the excellent evolution of science, and most of all the hard work of health care teams.”

To the future generation of nurses, Susan recommends asking questions, being open to new ideas, embracing change with open arms and always working as a team.

Amanda Baart, clinical nurse educator, Anesthetic Care Unit

Amanda feels lucky to work with teams and patients at BC Children’s. 

“I love working with the kids and like-minded people who also like working with kids,” she says. “As a nurse, I am most satisfied when we are making positive changes that result in positive patient outcomes.”

“Find what you love and love what you do,” Amanda says to those thinking about going into the nursing field. “Challenge yourself through continuing education and career changes that keep the job exciting.”

She also encourages finding and maintaining a work-life balance, and making friends within your job. “Those who go through the same experiences as you are your lifeline to longevity in this career.”

Amanda reminisces that each position she’s worked in has brought incredibly memorable experiences, and the hospital itself has brought her great friends, great patients and challenges that have helped her grow. “I think the teamwork is the best part of my job; we really care about one another and work together to provide the best possible patient experience.”

Keara Manrique, general duty nurse, Medical Inpatient Unit

What Keara enjoys most about being a nurse is that it is never boring. 

“Day to day, year to year, it is never the same, and there's always something new to learn or a new opportunity to try.”

She stays motivated by recognizing the positive impact nurses can on patients and families. “In times of stress, fear, and often heartache, we can be a small glimmer of kindness and compassion in someone’s day,” say Keara. “We meet people at some of their most vulnerable times, which is actually quite an honor.”

Thinking back on the memorable moments in her career, Keara recalls a day not that long ago as one of her favourites. 

“I will always vividly remember the first day we started vaccinating fellow staff members with the COVID-19 vaccine,” say Keara. “There was an excited and hopeful hum in the auditorium. People were so grateful for me poking them; you don't get that everyday!”

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