Indigenous Stories: Cynthia George Taha, Registered Nurse

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Indigenous Stories: Cynthia George Taha, Registered Nurse

By: Cynthia George Taha | Registered Nurse, Fraser Health
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History

I'm from the Wetsuweten Nation and the daughter of amazing parents -Tsebesya and Gilahgun and granddaughter of the late Satsun and Gisdeyweh. I grew up in Smithers BC Canada -on what is known as The Highway of Tears. I overcame many obstacles in life and thrive to be the best I can be today. We were taught at an early age to thrive off the territories and to learn the feast system, our self governance, since we weren't recognized by the federal government as aboriginal.

Education

When I was  21, I went to see a band post Secondary advisor  I went to enquire about a Licensed Practical Nursing Program. He said, “why don't you take the RN course.” I said ok! And like that, I made up my mind I can do it. I took my training at BCIT in Burnaby and graduated in 1994. I made it through the toughest of the toughest with 2 toddlers and a supportive partner. I enriched my career by taking the Northern Clinical Program through McMaster University and courses pertaining to Community Health through Uvic. I took my American Nursing later in my career I took my American Nursing Exam (NCLEX) in Baton Rouge Louisiana. I then took my Advanced Cardiac Life support through Tulan e Services. This course is reserved for emergency nurses and doctors only. I started a job at General Healthcare Systems – Baton Rouge General on a Telemetry (Cardiac) ward. In Vermont state I enrolled into Philosophy Science and Spirituality at Vermont College to talk a break from health sciences. I received an A. To integrate Wetsuweten world views in Philosophy to a New York City professor was something special for me!

Career

My 1st job was in New Aiyansh where the mountains surround you and the lava beds spread for miles and the water is turquoise. I was fortunate to witness the self governance and to see healthcare at its best―with me starting IV;s and doing blood pressures on one side of a patient and a traditional healer on the other side. I then worked as a Community Health Nurse amongst the Tsimshian. I loved visiting with the elders and just sitting with them in their homes or in their smokehouses and doing blood pressures and taking blood sugars was a reward in diverse nursing I was chosen to train in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and facilitated at the National NICCHRO Conference in Saskatoon. By 2001, I worked with Kateri Hospital as an evening charge nurse. I sat on an accreditation committee in which we nationally accredited the hospital. I also facilitated on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at an International Conference in Edmonton and a Regional Conference in Montreal. I became an Aboriginal Nurses Association Director for Quebec Anglophone for years before I resigned to move to the USA. 

With the uncertainty and changes in healthcare systems for our people and a separate health authority plan that will marginalize our people since healthcare professionals now have an idea that we have our own healthcare system, I decided to be where my skills and services will be most beneficial. And believe me, when our people see a native nurse in scrubs in leader position,it does mean something. I work casually on a medical and telemetry floor with Fraser Health and also reinstated my nursing license to work in the United States again.

Indigenous Peoples Career Stories 2012 -Cynthia

Posted on May 30, 2012