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Primary Care through a Rural Lens

Family Nurse Practitioner student Rebecca Irving gained experience during a Northern Medical Programs Trust-supported clinical placement in Valemount.

June 12, 2018
Rebecca Irving
Family Nurse Practitioner student Rebecca Irving honed her work-life balance on the soccer pitch.

With a demanding career as a family nurse practitioner on the horizon, Rebecca Irving definitely knows what it takes to balance life and work.

A former Academic All-Canadian, Irving played soccer with the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves for four years while pursuing an undergraduate nursing degree. She attributes her success on and off the field to commitment and hard work.

“Playing varsity sports, while maintaining high academic standards, meant having time management skills and dedication to both areas," she says. "I was driven to do well because I knew I wanted to go on to my master’s degree.”

Now enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Master’s Program, Irving is pursuing her goals with help from the Northern Medical Programs Trust.

Performing sutures on patients was one of many new skills she experienced in Valemount during a recent Trust-supported FNP clinical placement.

“In a smaller town, you see a lot of different patients,” says Irving. “It was a steep but exciting learning curve! While I did have prior nursing experience, assessments, diagnostic evaluation and diagnosis, prescribing, referrals to specialists, health education, and preventative care. FNPs often work in multidisciplinary teams, in primary care clinics or rural settings.

“The Trust provided me with a great opportunity to learn more about how to be a generalist when providing care in areas with more limited resources.” 

As she works towards finishing her degree, Irving is already looking ahead to future practice.

“My time at UNBC, as a student and Timberwolf, helped develop my leadership skills and taught me so much about teamwork, resolving conflict, and moving forward," she says.

“I hope to work with marginalized populations in the North where I can help make a big difference in long-term health outcomes through prevention and addressing health inequalities. That is my dream!”

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