Skye Maitland, BSN '18, School of Nursing

Skye Maitland
"This universal connection to the inner workings of everyday life and death is what I feel separates a career in the medical profession from another field of study. It’s beautiful!"

Skye graduated from UBC with a degree in First Nations Studies (now called First Nations and Indigenous Studies housed under the Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies) in 2014. Her studies emerged out of a determination to build a stronger understanding of the histories and contemporary realities of Indigenous/Non-Indigenous relationships, in order to responsibly participate in movements for socio-political justice across Canada. In 2016, Skye pursued a degree in nursing inspired by a particular interest in end-of-life care. It wasn’t long before she recognized the unique platform for health advocacy that nurses hold and became engaged in thinking of the many intersections between her previous studies. In a country where access to health care varies greatly across geographical and social lines, Skye looks forward to a career dedicated to providing and pushing for trustworthy, community-based and skilled care in the places she calls home.

“Cognitive Rehearsal to Address Bullying (CRAB) was a project with fellow Rising Stars Kate Proznick and Hannah Turner that embodied many of my interests in participating in meaningful social change. Seemingly niche, this project interrogates an issue that is rampant in the field of nursing and pushes in a very practical way at the complex web of injustices faced by many nurses every day at their place of work. Learning to cope with bullying is one important aspect of the project, but most important in my view is learning to identify what bullying looks like and where it emerges from. By beginning the workshop with an adapted version of ‘The Power Shuffle,’ participants engage with experiences of privilege and power in order to unlock the wider picture behind bullying behaviours and start to consider meaningful ways to interrupt these behaviours if witnessed or experienced.”

What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?

The people! My fellow students, faculty and the clients/patients we have had the great honour of working with and caring for.

How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?

I have just entered the work force as a registered nurse (RN) in downtown Vancouver. Already I notice how UBC Nursing’s emphasis on a truly relational practice has prepared me for the kind of nurse I want to be. Even when it is busy, I see so clearly the importance of taking time to make an authentic connection — to slow down and be with someone; to listen — and how these small efforts can have such lasting effects for moving toward healing and wellness.

How do you feel an undergraduate degree in nursing has benefitted you compared to a different field of study?

Inevitably we will all be brushed with sickness at one point or another — whether it is of a loved one, or ourselves — and knowing this, the art and practical skill of nursing allows for a special kind of connection to all people. For me, I am drawn to nursing both in a very practical sense (I love being useful everywhere I go!) but I also see the immense shift nursing knowledge has inspired in my relationships — both to my friends and family as well as to perfect strangers. It is fascinating and endlessly humbling to me how the knowledge that I am a health care provider can open such a door to the most intimate of human experiences. This universal connection to the inner workings of everyday life and death is what I feel separates a career in the medical profession from another field of study. It’s beautiful!

What advice would you give a student considering an undergraduate degree in nursing?

There is a common adage in nursing (as with so many professions) that there is a certain type of person who is drawn to or will be good at nursing. I have always believed that it simply takes all kinds. There are all kinds of people in this world who need care, and there should be all kinds of nurses there to provide it. There is no one “type” — if you want to do it, give it a go!