Victoria nurse practitioner wins aboriginal scholarship

Mary Smith has come a long way from the days living in poverty in the Beausoleil First Nation

Victoria nurse practitioner Mary Smith has come a long way from the days living in poverty in the Beausoleil First Nation community on Christian Island in Lake Huron.

Smith, who accepted one of 17 national TD Aboriginal Nursing Fund $5,000 scholarship awards at the recent Aboriginal Nurses of Canada national forum in Richmond, never dreamed she would be a nurse, let alone one enrolled in a PhD program.

“I remember at the age of 16 struggling, living in a house with one room and without electricity and water and taking risks that could have put me in a dark place,” she recalled in a personal statement published on the Canadian Nurses Foundation website.

With the love and support from her family, friends and community she was able to rise above her hardships and attain her degree.

Among her priorities is to give back through her work as a nurse practitioner, researcher and an educator. Having witnessed much ill health in her family and home community, she is dedicated to caring for those people suffering from addictions and mental health struggles.

The scholarship is one of more than 50 awarded annually through the foundation. Visit cnf-fiic.ca for more information.