A giving profession
Nayally-Ekenale about to fulfil a dream

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Mar 12/99) - When Phoebe Nayally-Ekenale received her nursing certificate from Aurora College in January, it marked the fulfilment of one dream and the beginning of another.

Having always aspired to become a nurse, Nayally-Ekenale took the first step by upgrading her education through the nursing access program. Graduation day, three years later, was an extremely proud moment, she said.

"My mother, my brother and my sister (were there), it was good," she said.

Since she was a little girl, Nayally-Ekenale said she wanted to become a nurse. Her first exposure to a hospital environment came when she worked as a clerk/interpreter for close to seven years in her home community of Wrigley.

"That inspired me," she recalled.

So she enrolled at Aurora College. Over the past three years, she said putting the classroom theory into practice proved the most challenging part of all. Changing the dressing on a wound, for example.

"To read about how to do it is different than actually doing it," she said.

The job entails having to deal with some rather unpleasant situations at times -- assorted injuries, open wounds and giving needles. Nayally-Ekenale, who laughed at the prospect of being squeamish when having to inject needles, said she can stomach those things.

"No, it doesn't bother me," she said.

Through the program, she received some practical training through clinical rotations at Stanton Regional Hospital in Yellowknife and spent three-week stints in health centres in Wrigley and Fort Simpson during her final year.

"It's different in a hospital than a health centre," she noted. "In a health centre, the nurse does everything. In a hospital, they mostly do patient care. But there is a lot of paperwork involved."

Although she hasn't yet moved into a job, she has applied for a few and is optimistic something will come her way. She said she hopes to work in the North for many years.

"I'd like to work here (in Yellowknife, where she currently lives) and get experience at the hospital," she said, "and then maybe go somewhere else in the North."

With her family living in the Deh Cho, Nayally-Ekenale would like to say hello to her mother, Mary, brothers Joseph, Gilbert, Michael, Camille and Robert and family.