/ Stories

Celebrating National Nursing Week 2024 – Inner strength and resilience


Man in sunglasses and winter gear stands in front of mountain backdrop
David Ritchie snowshoeing the Shipyard and Titanic Trail near Tumbler Ridge.

May 6-12 is National Nursing Week, and in recognition of the tremendous impact nurses have on individuals, communities, and the future of health care, this year’s theme is “Changing lives. Shaping tomorrow.”

Today, we’re highlighting David Ritchie, an internationally educated Registered Psychiatric Nurse working in Dawson Creek.

What do you love about nursing?

What I love most are the opportunities we get to connect with people from all walks of life.

This year’s theme is “Changing lives. Shaping tomorrow.” How has nursing impacted your life?

Nursing has given me a deeper insight into how health challenges can go beyond a diagnosis and impact all aspects of a person’s life. It has shown me how people who often feel hopeless can discover inner strength and resilience to overcome personal health problems. Being in mental health nursing has provided some of the happiest and hardest times in my life. Nursing has helped me develop many personal attributes and introduced me to other great nurses I consider friends.

What’s the best thing about where you live and work?

I met my partner and started a family here in Dawson Creek, and we have our quiet little piece of paradise out in the beautiful countryside. The North is great for all year-round outdoor activities: hiking, camping in the summer, snowshoeing, and skiing in the winter.

I am fortunate to work within a team of professional and caring people that make a difference to the lives of so many. I’ve seen lots of positive changes in the work environment over the past 11 years and I feel Northern Health is constantly striving to further enhance health care in the region.

How long have you been with Northern Health? If you didn’t start nursing here, where did you originally start your nursing journey?

I’ve been with Northern Health for 11 years. I gained my bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing from University of the West of Scotland in 2006. I worked as a community mental health nurse in Scotland for 7 years before emigrating to Canada.

What’s one thing that you wish everyone knew about the job nurses do?

We do what we do not because of our education or obligation, but because of our desire to make a difference.