#WeAnswerTheCall: Naomi Nickerson shares how she actions her beliefs every day in the North

By Alyson Pile posted 05-09-2022 10:21

National Nursing Week gives us a platform to share nurses’ stories about how “we answer the call” to create a better understanding of the many roles nurses play in a health-care journey and the incredible dedication and expertise they bring to their work. The #WeAnswerTheCall Member Series highlights just a few of the many stories of the impact nurses make. 

When asked about a time Naomi Nickerson had answered the call, she recalled a moment where she felt she hadn’t, one that’s still her biggest regret 23 years later. She describes a time when she first began working as a nurse on a Neurology/Surgery/Medicine unit with a patient who had brain-related surgery.

“He had staples from one ear to the other. It was a night shift and he really just needed to talk,” said Naomi. “There was something that I was obviously too emotionally immature to deal with at the time. But my biggest regret is not taking the time to talk to that patient. Something as simple as taking the time to listen to somebody.”

This experience has shaped how Naomi approached her practice going forward. She shared that it made her face up to her fears and really question what her values were with regards to how she was caring for people.

As a nurse practitioner working in Northern Manitoba for the past 20 years, Naomi has found her home.

“The amazing thing about the North, because there’s so few of us and it’s such a wide geographic area, is that we really get opportunities that people in Winnipeg don’t get. In the North we have to be generalists”, says Naomi.

Naomi brings her life experience, including this one, into her practice when it’s applicable. She shared another story that has stuck with her throughout her career about a young single mom with a few kids that she was offering public health services to including postpartum follow-up and preventative interventions. This mom was low income and often had family members staying with her, eating her food, but not contributing. Again, in this situation, what the client needed most was someone to listen.

“I remember her sharing her experiences and eventually telling her that she needed to think about herself and ask what did she want? What was best for her and her family?”

Naomi lost touch with the client when she moved. About nine months later, the client called out of the blue from another province where she’d relocated with her kids. She’d returned to school and so had her kids, who were doing well. She had some support there.

“She just wanted me to know that she was doing ok,” said Naomi. “All I did was listen and advocate for her. That’s it. There was nothing special that I did, but she remembered.”

The experience really reinforced the approach Naomi tries to take with patients. She focuses on providing information and offering options with pros and cons so her patients can make an educated decision.

“For me, answering the call is quietly actioning my beliefs every day. Providing the information for my patients so that they can make their own informed health decisions,” said Naomi. “Answering the call is about consistency, caring, and providing education – having an informed practice. It’s not splashy.”​
1 comment



05-09-2022 14:59

Naomi, thank you for demonstrating listening as a key way that nurses can answer the call!