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Maryna Semenova's Story

My name is Maryna Semenova. I am from Ukraine, where I have worked as a pediatric nurse in Ukraine. For a period, I lived in Belgium which was where I decided to immigrate to Canada with my family in 2005. We have four beautiful children, and have been living in Calgary, Alberta ever since. 

When I moved to Canada, I did not speak English so I started studying it at Mount Royal University (MRU). Nursing has always been my passion, so I went through the Bridge to Canadian Nursing program at MRU and became a Registered Nurse in 2013. I have been working at Alberta Children's Hospital (ACH) since 2008. I started my days at the Alberta Children's Hospital as a Nursing Attendant which helped better my understanding in the healthcare system. After my graduation, I worked in PLC as a registered nurse (RN) in Orthopedics, Plastics and General Surgery Adult medicine. I returned to the ACH Emergency department in 2015 where I had been working before moving to Nunavut. 

Besides my hard work as a RN, I am a competitive dancer in several dancing fields. It is one of my favorite hobbies/sports that I love to do, and it keeps my mind at ease whenever I have worked really hard in my career. It also keeps me highly focused and agile whenever I work on dance techniques or come up with my own choreography. It comes as a great conversation starter whenever I talk with my co-workers, as we always like to share our hobbies and experiences about our personal free time. 

I am always looking for a challenge in the medical field and because of this, I applied for a nursing job in the Kitikmeot Region in Nunavut. It took me one year to decide if I would be able to do this job and then after some courage and bravery I took the step and accepted the job in February 2021. 

Honestly, it was one of the most difficult assignments I ever came across in my nursing career. The learning curve was huge in this advanced nursing care. There are many factors to be considered in order to be successful and provide the best care possible to patients. The health centers are well organized, equipped and stocked with medications. There is however no immediate access to critical care diagnostics or hospitals. Patients have to be sent by air to get to larger hospitals with trauma type levels of care. The staffing is limited and sometimes there can be a huge shortage. Nevertheless, I would always try my best to take care of the patients in the facility regardless of any challenges. 

In my practices, I always count on my knowledge and experience from the moment I meet my patient until they are fully recovered. This includes all levels of care from primary till to critically acute. Despite that, my working hours can be unknown and I always have to stay focused and alert to every medical case possible. 

Nurses in Nunavut work very closely with patients by providing holistic care to patients, families, and communities as a whole.  Inuit carry their traditions very closely and it has been incredible to witness this. They have incredible respect for Elders, history, and the land. It is important to respect these traditions and to experience as much as possible while you are in these communities. During my time in this region, I had the opportunity to learn about country food such as seal, beluga, caribou and its importance to the community. I also learned that hunting helps build self esteem and allows individuals ways to support their community. 

Nunavut Nurses are active listeners and advocate for their patients. They offer comfort in time when it is needed and have incredible empathy and understanding. It can take time to build relationships with patients but it is important for patients to know and trust their health care workers. 

Northern nursing is one of the most challenging jobs I have had, however it is by far the most rewarding. I get to see patients progress in many possible ways such as physically, emotionally and socially. 

When patient say, “ I hope to see you again” or “I cannot wait for your return” it means the world! As a Nurse in Nunavut you become responsible for your patients. You are a part of the team who can lift their spirits and encourage them to stay healthy and strong. Nurses can make a difference in every action taken as their health care provider. This experience has helped me grow not only as a nurse, but as an individual. I am so happy I chose this path and I wouldn’t have it any other way.