Catherine Ardiles

Job Title

Nurse Educator Mentor

Department

Health and Social Services - System Human Resource Planning

Length of service with the GNWT

6 years

Education

Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Science – University of Victoria
Ongoing education in different areas of Nursing and Education

What are your job responsibilities?

This is a rather unique position  - I work for both the Department and the Stanton Health and Social Services Authority.   The main focus of my job is to facilitate the transition of graduate nurses into the healthcare environment at Stanton Yellowknife hospital. This is accomplished by orientation, mentoring, and professional development support, as well as working in collaboration with other Nurse Educator Mentors to deliver a territory-wide Graduate Nurse Program.  The goal is to have a seamless and supported introduction into the workforce that will assist with developing and retaining a northern nurse workforce.  The programs and services we provide will increase and improve new nurses’ level of confidence and competencies in the clinical setting.
 I also assist the staff education and development department at Stanton Hospital in facilitating professional development for all nurses, coordinating/delivering in-service courses and certifications, and ensure awareness of best practices to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the nursing staff.

How has the GNWT supported your professional development and advancement?

I cannot begin to say enough about the funding provided by the GNWT to all residents of the NWT.  There are many opportunities to apply for student loans, bursaries, and discounted rent, etc. I am unsure if any other province offers loan forgiveness in exchange for return of service.  If these services were not provided by the GNWT, I may not have returned to school, and after graduation I am unsure if I would have stayed.  It was the combination of the two that allowed me to pursue a new career and stay in the North to continue my education. The government also supplies nurses with the opportunity to take advantage of professional development money each year, to keep current on nursing practice or learn new skills.  This additional money has allowed me to advance my practice in many ways and different areas.  Currently, I am enhancing new skills at a leadership course which will assist me in my current job. I plan to begin my master’s degree in the next year while continuing to work full-time. I hope that residents, especially those in high school, realize how fortunate they are to be able to take postsecondary courses and perhaps only have to pay back a small amount of a student loan.  I have friends that graduated in the Maritimes 20 years ago that are still paying back loans!

Why do you enjoy working for the GNWT?

I really enjoy nursing and teaching.  Working for the GNWT allows me to do both. I have the support and opportunity to advance my career in a challenging environment. The scope of practice for my position can be impressive, and requires expertise in different areas.  My employer supports the education needed to stay current with best practice, while developing skills required to teach/lead groups and individuals.

What would you recommend to someone applying on a GNWT position?

Research the position they want and be prepared.  Then I would encourage them to apply and remind them there are many opportunities with the GNWT.  Working with the GNWT can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. There are great benefits available for myself and my family.  I have had a very interesting career in my few short years here and am excited to see what the future holds.

How do you feel your job makes a difference for Northerners?

As I said before, the GNWT provides a great opportunity for education.  The main duty as a Nurse Educator/Mentor is to facilitate the transition of graduate nurses into Northern Healthcare environments.  It is wonderful to have the Nursing Graduate placement program.  It provides an opportunity for new grads to work at least 3-months with support from myself and other nurses on the unit where they work.  Without this position, as research has shown, some new grads do not have enough support and do not continue with their nursing career.  It is important to retain our graduating nurses, and anything that can encourage them to stay is a good thing for Northerners (both the nurses and patients).

What is your career path?

I moved to Yellowknife from Prince Edward Island in January 1992 - I came to visit someone for a month and ended up staying.  I was in the restaurant/bar/hotel business for a long time before I returned to school here in the North at Aurora College.  I entered the Nursing Degree program in 2003  and graduated in 2007.  At the time I was unsure exactly where I wanted to work after graduation, and initially thought of travel nursing.  However, with the return of service initiative, there was the incentive to remain here and work, so that’s what I did!  I began my nursing career in 2007 on the medicine unit, then transferred to the Nurse Educator/Mentor Position (Human Resources, Recruitment Support) in March 2011.  I continue to work on the medicine unit as needed to keep current and maintain contact with front line staff. This is an important component of an educators role.