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Celebrating National Nursing Week 2024: Leadership in practice for the patient first


Close up image of woman wearing glasses smiling
Ashley Gueret, a nurse practitioner in Prince George.

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 Ashley Gueret, a Clinical Lead Nurse Practitioner who lives in Prince George.

What do you love about nursing?

There are so many different types of nursing, so if there's something you don’t like about your job, you can change where you work and who you work with. You can always find something that fills your cup!

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

I'm not the same person I was when I went into nursing; I've grown personally and professionally more than I thought possible. Nursing gives me personal satisfaction – I do this work because I love it! Nursing has many avenues; I'm currently working in a leadership position and also in a specialized clinical practice. I am also teaching, which is an opportunity to give back to students. When I teach, I try to focus on what makes us similar – how we can all provide something that gives back to our patients, and how we can provide the best care possible.

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

I moved from Vancouver Island to Prince George seven years ago and found the North to be very friendly, much more so than the Lower Mainland or the island. People here are more likely to engage in collegial work.

Northern Health has been pivotal in shaping my career as a nurse practitioner, a leader, and an educator. NH is adept at noticing people who are good at their job and promoting them, which can be seen in our leadership (e.g., our current and former CEOs, our VPs, etc.). You don’t always see this in other health authorities. This needs to be celebrated! These are key factors to doing a great job.

I work in a clinic for unattached patients, many of whom have addictions and/or pervasive mental health disorders. In this job, I’ve learned about the relationship between clinical practice and leadership. When we lead health reform, we are doing it for the person who needs it the most. We must be patient-focused in everything we do.

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 working at Northern Health since January 2018. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Vancouver Island University (formerly known as Malaspina University-College), and worked as a pediatric nurse for Island Health in Nanaimo from 2007-2017. I decided to move to Prince George because it seemed like it would be a more supportive environment for me as a new nurse practitioner. I completed the Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Northern BC in Prince George.

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

I wish people knew what a nurse practitioner is: an advanced practice nurse with skills in assessment, diagnosis, and the treatment/management of disease. We are not competition for nurses, we are their colleagues, and we are proud of our nursing background. Our nursing scope of practice informs our work every day. Nurse practitioners give a different voice to nursing, and I wish that more people had access to nurse practitioner services.

As a clinical lead nurse practitioner, I support Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT) nurse prescribers, which is very fulfilling work. Nurses are truly experts in the care that they provide!