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Celebrating National Nursing Week 2023: Darlene Danco


Darlene Danco sits on a chainsaw wood carving in Chetwynd BC.
Chetwynd is known for is the Chetwynd International Chainsaw Carving Championship.  There are more than 120 carvings located throughout the community, with three located at the hospital. Darlene is pictured at the carving located in front of Chetwynd Hospital.

May 8-14 is National Nursing Week! The theme this year is #OurNursesOurFuture, 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 will be sharing interviews with nurses about their roles and experiences in their professions.   

Darlene Danco – Licensed Practical Nurse  

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

I am a full time LPN of almost 16 years at the Chetwynd General Hospital for Northern Health in the Northeast. My job includes promoting health and wellness, and illness prevention for my residents in long-term care, for acute patients, and assisting when needed in the emergency department.  

I love nursing because it’s a profession that never stops giving. In our hospital I have worn many hats for which I’ve had the responsibilities of nursing, CSD, purchasing/warehouse duties for 11 years (which I still monitor), educating, pharmacy duties, gardening, and having organized many potluck parties to celebrate numerous events.  

My favorite part of my job is not knowing what the day will bring. I love how diverse my job is with endless learning and teaching my residents, patients, families, students, and orientating many new coworkers I have met over the years. I enjoy collaborating and giving support as a team member with my nursing coworkers and our multi-disciplinary care team to empower the residents and patients to enhance holistic care.  

What is something you wish everyone knew about nursing? 

I would like anyone who is thinking of going into the LPN nursing career to know they need to genuinely care for other human beings in a compassionate and understanding manner. I believe the nurse resident/patient relationship is to build trust, speaking calmly while using active listening skills, and be respectful for a positive outcome. Health care and the LPN scope is continually changing with keeping up-to-date on new drugs, technologies, skills, and best practices.   

My schedule consists of 12 hour shifts, which are mostly day shifts and the odd night shift. I prefer working days as I thrive on high energy and keeping busy. Luckily for me, there are LPNs who prefer night shifts. Nursing may be very challenging with working short, demanding workloads, and having complex patients or family members. It can take a toll on a nurse physically, mentally, or emotionally. One powerful tool for me is having a sense of humor which is a great gift in the nursing profession and there have been some very precious and memorable moments!  My mantra is: ‘I need to care for myself to care for others’.  

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

Nurse's week theme for 2023 is “Our Nurses. Our Future” which to me means acknowledging, valuing, and celebrating the roles of all nurses. It allows the public to recognize, appreciate, and honor the contributions nurses make to the health care systems and for our society. Our future means to build a more hopeful and brighter future to improve our health care systems. Together our future depends on every nurse to not only be on the front lines of care, but also on the front lines of change. 

What do you like about where you live? 

I live out in the country with the deer and many wild birds on 12 acres outside Chetwynd, having to drive only 20 minutes to the hospital. It’s a retreat when I arrive home to my family, our eight year old English bulldog (Maggie), and my 22 chickens. I have a quarter acre garden which I find therapeutic. After a long set of shifts I find peace and tranquility here enjoying the four seasons. I like spring the best in Chetwynd in the months of May and June. This is the season when the snow has melted, the pussy willows or daffodils or wild roses appear, and when the poplar leaves are popping out. Also when the swans or hummingbirds or the robins arrive. Lastly, I am looking forward to the hills being a breathtaking beautiful green with all the fresh new leaves out!