Nurse Practitioner Celia Evanson has achieved a remarkable, pioneering legacy working in the northern frontier communities of British Columbia. Beginning her long career in nursing in the big city of Vancouver, she soon found her calling bringing high quality care to some of this country’s most isolated communities. Thanks to her hard work, in places like Grand Forks, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James, nurses who follow her path will have an example to aspire to in serving our fellow citizens in the most remote sites of our beautiful province.
“Celia was the first Nurse Practitioner hired by Northern Health and is essentially responsible for the development of that role across the entire health authority,” says Health Services Administrator April Hughes. “She not only established the first practice model within an interdisciplinary health centre; she was also the first health care provider in our area to develop a comprehensive model for outreach services.”
In BC’s rugged far north, the physical challenges of terrain and climate can put a damper in the best of intentions, but Celia was undeterred. Her proactive approach to delivering health care to the most remote communities has helped get care to some people who had never had access to it before. “She brought primary care services to the bedside of local First Nations Elders who might otherwise not have been able to attend a clinic,” Hughes adds. “Her outreach model was subsequently picked up by local physicians and grew to be a model for engaging a marginalized and vulnerable population in accessing basic health care.”
In developing this new care delivery model, Celia faced challenges more familiar to administrators in the big cities. “There were so many unknowns for Celia as she established her practice with physicians and other clinical staff who had never worked with an NP before,” says Dr. Sheila Turris. “She taught a multi-disciplinary team what this new role could offer.”
Part of what made Celia’s broader work so successful was her extraordinary clinical skills. “Celia has been involved in the management of many patients, treating everything from minor acute problems to chronic illnesses, often changing outcomes for the better,” says Dr. Pieter van Zyl. “She feels and shows great responsibility towards her patients and will take the extra step to ensure a better outcome in a holistic manner.
“As an example, Celia has assisted with resuscitation and intubation of a patient in our emergency department,” Dr. van Zyl adds. “We have a very small ER and hospital and in this environment, things can go wrong quickly — but on this occasion, Celia took charge of the situation, controlled the minor distress in the room, followed protocols perfectly and showed excellent clinical skills based on real experience.”
Celia has had a broader impact through her role as a rural nursing researcher and in nursing education, as Clinical Faculty with the University of Northern British Columbia’s MScN-Family Nurse Practitioner Program. Additionally, she is an NP OSCE Exam Consultant with CRNBC. Through all of these professional activities, she helps to lead and support the future generation of nurses in this province.
Many years of clinical experience and worldly wisdom help make Celia one of the most effective, formidable forces in nursing in British Columbia, inspiring others around her to provide the best care possible in any setting.