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Dianne Iyago's Story

Nursing: a great reminder of a profession that shows so much commitment, dedication, resiliency and compassion. #WeAnswerTheCall is this year’s theme for National Nursing Week. In my seventh year of nursing, I never would have thought that I would be where I am today in my career. Looking back at where it all started and how I got to where I am today, I can say that I have answered my own calling. 

My nursing mentality started while I was still in high school. I ventured on to shadow a home care nurse in the Similkameen Valley of British Columbia where I was a participant of the Northern Youth Abroad (NYA) program in 2004. But to say that I answered the calling posed a few challenges along the way. During my post secondary school journey, I had many pathways to explore. When I attended the second phase of the NYA program in 2006, I thought for sure that I was going to apply to International Development programs but instead continued my education and attended the Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) program in 2007. 

My connection to the profession started when we worked with the villages in Botswana with NYA and was strengthened when we visited the native people of Peru with NS. At that time there was mining exploration happening near my home community of Baker Lake and I saw many challenges. I thought that if I entered a workforce that could help my community, that nursing was the way I was going to do it. 

I applied, got accepted, but also dropped out of the nursing program in Yellowknife, NT. The same year I dropped out, I applied to the nursing program in Iqaluit, NU. I graduated from the Nunavut Arctic College Nursing program in 2014 and in that same year, I had my son Ikinilik. Both my parenting life and nursing career have been nothing but a great challenge. The support I had from both my family and the staff at the college does not go unappreciated. There was a time when I attended my program’s part time and had to take the responsibility of financing everything on my own. That is something that I will never take for granted. 

Since graduating I have had many opportunities and still have great support both professionally and personally. The last two years of my career have been in the middle of a pandemic, and I choose to put my parenting role first and started in a new Public Health Nursing position. I thought this would have given me more time at home but being a single parent and being considered an essential worker posed some great trials that way. But #WeAnswerTheCall.

Happy Nurses Week to all the nurses that have come to Nunavut, especially the one that continue to serve our communities!