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Celebrating National Nursing Week 2023: Ashley Wasnik


Ashley is pictured in the beautiful and scenic area of Prince George where the Nechako and Fraser rivers meet.
Ashley is pictured in the beautiful and scenic area of Prince George where the Nechako and Fraser rivers meet.

May 8-14 is National Nursing Week! The theme this year is Our Nurses. Our Future, which showcases the many roles that nurses play in the health care journey.

Nurses work with courage and commitment every day. Making up almost 30% of Northern Health staff, nurses work in all types of roles from acute, facility, community, and specialized care to clinical informatics, education, policy development, research, leadership, risk management and much more! We thank casual, full-time, part-time, travel, and student nurses.

To celebrate Nursing Week, we’ll be sharing interviews with nurses about their roles and experiences in their professions.

Ashley Wasnik, Lead - Professional Practice, Nursing

Tell us about your role? What is your favorite part of your job?

Currently, I am in the role of Lead - Professional Practice, Nursing for Northern Health. This role is a regional leadership position that aims to support the advancement of nursing roles, scope and function. We help leaders tosupport their staff and have the responsibility to provide consultation about nursing professional and practice standards with a goal of ensuring high quality clinical practice environments.

My favourite part of the job is being able to work with so many great professionals and leaders across all Northern Health who have a passion for providing high-quality care. Being a part of regional, strategic initiatives is very rewarding. We continue to support nurses and leaders, provide expert input into models of care, which in turn can impact our goal of delivering quality clinical patient care for all those who enter our Northern Health doors!

What is something you wish everyone knew about nursing?

Nurses work hard to provide direct patient care in a variety of settings, in the patient's home, in hospitals, and in long-term care homes. Many nurses take additional training and education to expand the possibilities in caring for patients.

I am currently completing my master's degree to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP). I wish that everyone knew about NPs and the value the profession can bring to the health care system. NPs are Registered Nurses who have completed a master's level NP program, who have advanced skills and scope of practice. NPs can assess and treat diseases and disorders by prescribing, ordering diagnostic services, managing results, and consulting with other health care providers. NPs practice in 1 of 3 streams including family, adult, or pediatrics/neonatal. NPs across Canada work in a variety of practice settings including primary care clinics, virtual clinics, hospital settings and some NPs even work in specialty areas like Emergency Departments and Intensive Care Units! NPs work collaboratively with multi-disciplinary teams that together, improve patient care.

In the future, I hope to continue working with Northern Health, and join the wonderful group of NPs here to improve access and quality of patient care for people in Northern BC!

What does “Our Nurses. Our Future” mean to you?

Nurses not only provide care to patients at the bedside, we are advocates for patient care, safe quality practice environments, and are involved in advancing policy with a goal of strengthening health care systems. Nurses have a unique education and skillset that makes them adaptable and valuable in a variety of non-traditional future nursing roles including leadership, virtual nursing, clinical informatics, pre-hospital nursing, and even research. With nurses continuing to push the boundaries for opportunities and advancing practice, the possibilities are endless.

Where do you live, and what do you like about it?

Since October 2022, I have been working with Northern Health in Prince George, BC after spending over a decade working in Northern Alberta. Born and raised here, I can definitely say it feels like home. The community of PG is filled with resilient, welcoming and caring people who create a strong sense of community.

I love all of the outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and exploring nature. I enjoy watching any sporting event, visiting local restaurants and exploring local shops but most of all I love being surrounded by family and friends. The North is a special place!