Valerie McLeod: 14 Years Practising

Valerie McLeod has been a practising Registered Nurse since 2006. Having practiced in many different domains, she reflects on the opportunities within nursing to continuously expand her skills to best provide traditional care for her family and community.

Like many RNs, Valerie McLeod chose nursing because she wanted to help her family and community. “My late grandfather passed away from cancer when I was seven-years-old and I wanted to learn how to help my family with prevention and healing teachings,” reflected McLeod. She took that desire to Central and Northern Saskatchewan early in her career, where she worked in medical, palliative and surgical care. From there, she went to Saskatoon to work as a health navigator with the First Nations and Metis Health Services program and became the lead for the program in 2015. And most recently, McLeod joined SIIT in Saskatoon and uses traditional practices in her practice each day. McLeod helps write the Indigenous Practical Nursing Program, the Indigenous curriculum content and became lead instructor teaching the first cohort of students in fall of 2019. “​My biggest win in my career thus far has been being able to be a part of an innovative program such as the Indigenous Practical Nursing Program, and to see the students complete their first practicum with excellent feedback from staff at the care homes we went to,” said McLeod.

Well into her career at this point, McLeod advises future RNs that this profession must be done from the intention of your heart: “The nursing journey is not easy. It takes a lot of time, self-reflection and compassion to keep working in the field we do. Your heart will guide you into many possible opportunities for yours and your loved ones’ future.”

“As RNs, we need to understand the issues that currently exist. In my areas of work, I have experienced and learned to navigate the health system that does not always work for everyone, especially those of Indigenous ancestry, like myself. Once we become educated on the issues, we will be able to truly provide safe, competent and ethical care for all the people we serve.” Valerie McLeod

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