Providing compassionate care to Indigenous communities

Growing up on the Siksika Nation, Erica Sitting Eagle found out early on that she had a passion for helping people. While her grandfather was battling cancer, she helped provide care for him with her grandmother.

“My grandma used to always call me his nurse,” Erica recalls.

With her empathetic and caring nature, Erica chose to pursue a career in nursing. Currently in her second year of her degree at the University of Calgary, she aims to serve alongside patients, offering compassionate care, and she strives to bring Indigenous representation to hospital environments.

After obtaining a Health Sciences degree and engaging in project and program development initiatives and working in several administrative roles, she found satisfaction in her work but yearned for a more hands-on approach to patient care, wanting to be at the forefront of healthcare delivery.

Erica was awarded one of three Indigenous Health Scholarships from Calgary Health Foundation for the excellence she’s shown in pursuing education in a health care field, and dedication to helping her community.

“I’m very thankful to Calgary Health Foundation. It makes me feel proud and very grateful to be the recipient of this award.”

The scholarship funds allow her to help pay for tuition and frees up money that can go towards other bills.

“I am very proud to be pursuing my second degree, it was no easy feat. I was fortunate enough to be raised by my parents and grandparents who helped me create a foundation to achieve my goals from a young age.”

Her grandparents instilled in her the importance of a strong work ethic and that she was capable of whatever she set her mind to. She hopes that other Indigenous people can pursue their dreams and goals as well.

Erica has overcome many challenges to get to where she is now. Growing up in a low-income family, she worked incredibly hard to see any goal she made for herself be achieved. She credits her resilience for propelling her to obtaining two degrees.

Pursuing nursing in her thirties presented another challenge as she has had to balance the demands of both work and school concurrently.  At first, she wasn’t sure she was ready to go back to school full-time but once she was settled, she knew this was where she needed to be and that she was on the right career path.

After graduating, Erica would like to build up her experience in a hospital before returning to work with her community, so she can give more enriching care to First Nations people.

“I grew up in this community and I’m so thankful for the resources that I’ve received from my community. My family is here, and I love them. I feel so supported by my community and want to give back to it. I want to advocate for better health outcomes for First Nations people.”

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