Into Practice is a series of blogs highlighting participants on the BC ECHO on Substance Use – their roles and how the program has impacted their practice.
This edition, we hear from Beverly Selle, Community Health Practice Consultant with First Nations Health Authority.
I was a science major in university and I have a love for people. I went into nursing knowing that I wanted to be involved in people’s lives, help them make better choices, and assist them to maintain healthy lifestyles. My first job in nursing was at the rural hospital in 100 Mile House, a municipality in the Interior of BC. I then applied to a local First Nations community that was in need of a nurse replacement. That worked out really well: community health was always my passion.
I worked on-reserve for a decade before applying for the role I currently occupy. I now work as a Practice Consultant for the band-employed nurses in British Columbia’s northern region, which means that I provide support to those healthcare professionals in the form of resources, education and information. Much of my role is organizing continuing education activities, like workshops, webinars, and conferences. As the nurses provide care for people’s health concerns throughout the lifespan, we have to cover a lot of ground.
There are many unique challenges that community health practitioners encounter in the North when it comes to providing quality care for opioid use disorders. Distance is a big one, and transportation is part of that. It’s not always easy to find a doctor who’s able and willing to support a patient with opioid agonist therapy (OAT). Additionally, some of our communities can be a long drive from a pharmacist who can and will dispense OAT – and not all of those pharmacies are open on weekends. The nurses in those communities are the ones who have to find solutions to these challenges, and education and collaboration help them to do so, to a degree.
Knowing that our nurses face these difficulties in meeting patients’ needs, I saw participating in the BC ECHO on Substance Use as a way for me to personally support nurses in the North, where there are gaps in knowledge with respect to substance use. I pass on what I learn to the nurses with whom I work in First Nations communities, and I encourage them to join the sessions that interest them. What I’m looking to do with my involvement in the BC ECHO on Substance Use is just what our team of nurses in British Columbia’s North are always striving to do: lend support to others.
The BC ECHO on Substance Use (Opioid Use Disorder) is a virtual continuing education program that aims to help primary care providers and their teams build capacity in the treatment and management of opioid use disorder.
Through interactive, online, case-based presentations, health care providers enhance competencies and learn through real-world examples, how to incorporate evidence-based practices into their care setting, to improve outcomes for clients and families.
To learn more about the BC ECHO on Substance Use and Project ECHO, visit the website.