North Island College Students Lead Change for Nursing Students Across Canada

NIC Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Courtney Blake is leading change for nursing students across Canada as the new president of the Canadian Nursing Students Association (CNSA).

The CNSA is an organization with over 30,000 students across Canada. She is joined on the board by Emma Hill, NIC nursing transfer student, who is serving as vice president.

“I went to the 2017 CNSA conference in my first year and was absolutely inspired,” said Blake. “I am very passionate about social justice, change and advocacy, and CNSA works intimately with these issues. NIC has a very active CNSA chapter so I became involved at the local level. I was encouraged to participate by the former CNSA President and NIC student, Dawn Tisdale.”

Blake became involved with the association as the Indigenous Advocacy Ally in 2019 and ran for president in January.

Since officially starting in her role in March, a lot of her energy has been focused on looking at how the CNSA can be more diverse and equitable as an organization.

“CNSA has received a lot of feedback about a lack of representation of diverse voices at the organizational level. We’re looking at how our board is structured and how we can change it to ensure everyone has an equal voice at the table,” explained Blake.

After completing the NIC Health Care Assistant program, Blake was inspired to return to school to become a nurse. “I worked as a Health Care Assistant for a couple of years. When I was working in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities, the company had a nurse that would come in regularly. I saw her work with the adults and the level of technique that was required to do the work was really inspiring.”

Blake feared when she applied to the nursing program that she was not going to be able to attend. “I was not even in the top 20 of the waitlist when I applied at NIC. Then I suddenly got a phone call from the college and was told that I will likely have a seat. It was a complete surprise.”

Blake was a great addition to the NIC community.

Blake sees herself as an advocate for people who are often marginalized by society. She openly identifies as a fat, queer, cis woman and has recently started a non-profit society in the Comox Valley.

“This Spring, my friend Sam Patterson and I created Queersource Society. Our intention is for it to become a resource centre for members of the queer community to get access to social services and clinical services. It will be a place for them to simply be who they are, without feeling challenged about their identity.”

This volunteer work and the work as President of the CSNA will lend Blake a lot of experience to take into her future goals of working in community or public health. Blake’s role at CSNA is to help foster change in the nursing profession to be more inclusive.

“As a nurse, you’re not just taking care of someone in their day to day, you also shift or change their life from a broader systemic perspective. There are so many ways in which our culture and society harm people, and it’s our professional obligation as healthcare providers to combat that wherever it occurs. Especially when it comes from within our own profession,” she explains.

Original article from North Island College