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Celebrating National Nursing Week 2024: Making a difference every day in McBride


Woman with her hair pulled back in a ponytail stands in front of forest background.
Jessica Eyben, a Licensed Practical Nurse working in McBride.

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 Jessica Eyben, a Licensed Practical Nurse working in McBride:

What do you love about nursing?

I love to help people, and being there during a vulnerable time for my patients allows me to connect with them on such an intimate level. I love making a difference in patients’ and their families’ lives, and mentoring new students. I love learning skills that are helpful in any aspect of life, and participating in lifelong learning and growth. I have learned from those less fortunate and have grown through seeing people survive and thrive after overcoming the most unimaginable situations.

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

I believe in always striving to help change and improve the quality of life for anyone I meet. I take the opportunity to help guide anyone wanting to learn or teach them new skills and strategies to have a better quality of life. Nursing has impacted my life by teaching me patience and to have deeper empathy, and to always listen to my gut feelings and to my patients. Not having the answer all the time is not always a bad thing, but listening, and a willingness to learn and find a helpful solution or strategy to get through the situation are key. I have gained an epic sense of humour that I love bringing into my everyday life and being real! Making people smile and relax is my favourite thing to do.

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

The best thing about where I live is the remoteness of McBride and the closeness of my community. The mountains are by far my favourite! I love the diverse care and skill levels ranging from emergency, acute care, and long-term care. My community and job have given me strength and purpose to always be myself.

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

I graduated high school in 2000, took my certificate to become a care aide right after graduating, and worked in long-term care facilities in Dawson Creek. I also worked as a supported independent liaison worker for psychiatry before I was accepted into a Practical Nurse Program (a satellite program with Vancouver Community College) in 2001 at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek. I have been working with Northern Health since 2001 and have loved every minute of it! I knew from a young age that this was what I wanted to do. I've been working in McBride since 2007, and I’ve also been practicing footcare for inpatients and outpatients for over 15 years.

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

Nurses give their all! When we're tired beyond being able to function, we find a way to go above and beyond. There are challenging circumstances, such as staff shortages, the things we deal with physically and mentally every day on the job, and the battle of burnout. Nursing requires us to be at the top of our game, to be able to assess, to advocate for our patients, and to respond to quickly changing situations.