UBC's first-ever Indigenous nursing lead, intent on increasing Indigenous nursing graduates and helping educate culturally competent nurses, is on the job.
Tania Dick, a member of Dzawada’enuxw First Nations of Kingcome Inlet, has a long history with Indigenous nursing, including 18 years as a registered nurse and two degrees from UBC. She's taking that experience and making sure current students are better prepared to help Indigenous patients once they graduate.
"In my experience, people in the field may not know how to support the Indigenous community in health care," she says in a press release. "So it’s important that students can learn how to practice nursing in a healthy, positive way."
She notes that when she was a master's student at UBC in 2010 there was only one other Indigenous student and none of the courses offered had Indigenous perspectives or components. Since then there has been progress, including new courses offered in the last four years.
"There was not much understanding of what Indigenous nursing could and should look like," she says. "It was a difficult time. The numbers have improved somewhat—right now we have 11 Indigenous nursing students—but we need to do more to support Indigenous nurses."
Those 11 students are spread across the undergraduate, master's and PhD programs.
She'll be looking to increase the number of students and provide guidance to faculty on Indigenous nursing.
"Students need to learn from a culturally safe and appropriate curriculum that is centred on cultural safety and humility," she explains. "A new mandatory course that we developed for undergraduate nurses—NURS 353: Promoting the Health of Indigenous People—is an exciting step in the right direction."
Dick was recruited in November of 2021 and has since joined the School of Nursing team. The position was created following the In Plain Sight review, the Truth and Reconciliation report, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.