Smithers nurse receives provincial award

Shelley Irvine received the Award of Excellence in Nursing Practice by the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. this past April.

Shelley Irvine at the nursing excellence award ceremony in Vancouver.

Shelley Irvine at the nursing excellence award ceremony in Vancouver.

By: Amara JanssensShelley Irvine received the Award of Excellence in Nursing Practice by the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. this past April.

Irvine said she was caught off guard when she received the nomination last summer.

Irvine was travelling in Europe when she was tracked down by phone to confirm whether or not she would accept the nomination.

She accepted, and then says she completely forgot about the award nomination as she didn’t hear anything until months later.

It wasn’t until December, when she received flowers at work.

She called back the sender, who was a colleague, and explained that she thought the flowers were sent to the wrong Shelley.

That’s when she was told she had won the award of Excellence in Nursing Practice, and would later find the official notification from the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. arrive in the mail.

“It was a surprise and wonderful,” Irvine said.

Irvine is a diabetes nurse educator who started the local Healthy Living Centre in 1990.

The centre is dedicated to providing services and support to individuals with diabetes in Smithers, Houston, and Moricetown.

Irvine was nominated for the award by fellow diabetes nurse educators from Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii and Smithers.

Each of these communities have one diabetes nurse educator, and much like colleagues from one office work together, these nurses collaborate and grow professionally from one another.

Together, they make up The Diabetes Educator Sector Northwest.

Every year they take it upon themselves to convene to have their own professional development workshops.

“You are only as good as your team,” Irvine said.

Irvine is usually asked to lead these workshops, as she’s been here the longest, she said.

Six awards were up for grabs at the annual nursing excellence award ceremony held at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver.

Three categories were judged to determine award winners, including general criteria, professional standards as well as the criteria for specific awards.

Professionalism, innovation, leadership, and interpersonal skills were the main emphasis for general and professional criteria.

The award of Excellence in Nursing Practice was based on nursing knowledge, clinical decision-making, professional accountability, responsibility, and application of research.

Irvine graduated as a registered nurse in 1982 from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Prior to moving to northern B.C., Irvine travelled and practiced nursing internationally.

Looking for adventure, she went to New Zealand shortly after graduation and worked at a hospital for a few months.

She travelled to Nepal where she also practiced nursing.

In the late 1980s, Irvine met her husband and together they made Quick, B.C., their home for them and their four children.

When Irvine retires she plans to pick up travelling again.

First on her list is to nurse in India.