Science and Nursing - College
Native Nursing Entry Program - Lakehead University
Bachelor of Science and Nursing - Lakehead University
Provide a brief general introduction about yourself.
My name is Brianna Decontie. I am from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, located in Quebec. I currently work for the Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority as the Community Well-Being Nurse Specialist in Family Health.
What does your daily job entail?
I specialize in maternal child health. Part of what I do is help community-based workers enhance their skills. So, I provide training for them to attend. I go to communities sometimes to support them with their programs and workshops.
What got you interested in your chosen career?
I have always been interested in working in the health field. Since I was younger I wanted to be a doctor, but as I got older I realized nursing was a good career to get into. I feel there is a need for more indigenous people to be working in a health career to help support our people navigating through the health system.
Through my years of schooling and being a nurse, I feel that our people are more comfortable seeing indigenous faces in the health field, especially elder. The appreciate it when you communicate with them with our native tongue. We need more nurses, doctors, PSW, just supports.
Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you?
My grandfather has been my biggest inspiration. He has supported me and taught a lot of traditional teaching related to health. My mother also has been a great supporter. They’re my biggest motivations. I do not know where I’d be without my mother and grandfather.
How did you get to where you are today?
(i.e. Education background, challenges, etc.)
I graduated from high school in 2011. I moved away to college when I was 16 years old. I tried the science and nursing program at the college level for two years, and then I decided to switch over to the Bachelor of Science and Nursing at Lakehead University. I entered into the Native Nursing Entry Program, which is a preparatory program for indigenous students. After I finished that I went through the four years of BScN. I really love my experience throughout my schooling. I faced many personal challenges I had to overcome, which was tough. But, again, my motivating factor is to have more indigenous people in health careers, and also be a role model to my nieces and younger generations.
How do you keep developing your skills in your career?
I attending a lot of online webinars and conferences to help me develop my skills. I do a lot of reading on the side to develop my skills as a nurse and gain more knowledge in maternal child health.
Any health or physical requirements in your career?
Nursing requires you to be healthy emotionally, physically, spiritually, and intellectually to help take care of people.
What are some things you like about your career?
Being a nurse, there is a lot of different positions you can get into and specialize in. That’s what I like about my career, there are a lot of different options for me. I especially love my job right now because I get to travel the different communities SLFNHA takes care of because I get to learn their language and culture, just to visit different places is nice.
Outside of work, what kind of things do you do to take care of yourself?
I like to bead, sew, read, relax, and visit family and friends when I can.
What financial opportunities did you use to help you with your education and what was the process?
I was financially supported by the post-secondary program in my reserve. I applied during the summer and waited until the early fall, before school started, to get an answer on whether or not I got funded. I was also supported by my grandfather, mother, and the money I saved up from summer jobs.
What do you still hope to achieve?
I hope to further my education and become a nurse practitioner or eventually become a doctor. I love school so I would like to build on after working as a nurse for a couple of years.
What would you like to share with the youth reading this?
Your dreams are attainable and are totally possible if you work for it, sometimes you may feel like you are not supported. But your family, friends, community members, and even ancestors are rooting for you. Go for your dreams, anything is possible.