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Celebrating the diverse and talented nurses at BCMHSUS

National Nursing Week is May 8-14 and to celebrate, we are highlighting some of the nurses who make up the BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services team.
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​From left: Janel Diewert,  Ava Jenkins and Sunny Toor

Inspired by this year’s theme of "Our Nurses. Our Future," we wanted to learn more about why some of our nurses chose nursing, what continues to inspire them and what advice they would have for someone considering a career in nursing.

At BCMHSUS, we serve people with challenging and complex mental health and substance use needs. However, our nearly 1,000 talented nurses bring their knowledge, expertise and compassion to work every day, helping us improve the care and services we offer patients and clients.

Want to recognize a BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services nurse for going the extra mile? Send a thank you.

Many paths can lead to nursing

BCMHSUS_Sunny_Toor_1.jpgSunny Toor, a licensed practical nurse with the North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre since 2016, knew from a very young age that nursing was the career for her.

“My dad was injured at work and was in and out of hospital for years. I remember travelling from the Interior to Vancouver with him for appointments and the nurses were always so kind to me. They would check in to make sure I was ok and that I had things to do." 

"As I got older, I came to fully appreciate everything they did to help my dad get better.” – Sunny Toor

BCMHSUS_Ava_Jenkins_2.jpgFor some, the journey to nursing isn’t a straight line. “I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. One year for my birthday, my grandma gave me a Barbie named Nurse Whitney. I loved it because she was a nurse and she had brown hair like me,” says Ava Jenkins, LPN, who joined the North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre in 2022. 

“My career was in a different direction for several years, but with the support of my family, friends, and my Indigenous advisors, I decided to make a career change in 2018. I returned to school in my late 30’s to complete the LPN program.” 

BCMHSUS_Janel_Diewart_3.jpgLike Ava, Janel Diewert took a more round-about way to the profession. “I didn’t want to be a nurse for the longest time, because I grew up with my mom being a public health nurse and I always wanted to create my own path. After completing a degree in marketing and sales and trying a few different jobs, I realized that I really wanted a career where I could use all my compassion, empathy and love for helping others, which really was nursing in a nutshell and what my mother was showing me with her nursing career all along.” 

Drawing inspiration from the clients they serve

“Being able to be a part of a person’s life when they are at their most vulnerable is an honour and an inspiration." – Janel Diewert

"There is something about being present with someone to offer that helping hand or ear, that brings a deep meaningful human connection that I haven’t been able to experience in any other career,” reflects Janel.

Sunny shares similar thoughts as to what inspires her. “I know at the end of the day I am making a difference. As a nurse, I have the opportunity to be the voice and face of what health care should be. Everyone has a story and no matter what their background, they all deserve the best care you can offer.”

As a newer nurse, Ava is inspired by her nursing colleagues. “The nurses I have worked with have been amazing mentors. I’ve learned a lot from them,” reflects Ava. She finds satisfaction in watching patients progress and get healthier. 

“Everyone deserves access to health care.” – Ava Jenkins

Nursing: Go for it!

Janel loves the many opportunities available to her as a nurse; she’s also worked in acute and community care over her 12-year career and has been a clinical nurse educator with Correctional Health Services in Victoria since 2019.

Despite their different paths to nursing, Janel, Sunny and Ava offer the same advice to anyone considering a career in nursing – go for it! There are so many opportunities within nursing that can lead to unexpected career and educational paths. And as a nurse, you can make a difference in someone’s life every day you come to work.

Join our team

Interested in joining our team? Visit our Careers page to view current opportunities.

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