When it comes to the relationship between nurses and their patients, working with expectant mothers can involve a greater level of familiarity than most.
© Submitted photo
Janelle Bekattla is a community health nurse at the James Smith Health Centre.
Community health nurse Janelle Bekattla is well aware of this fact. As a specialist in prenatal care at the James Smith Health Centre, she is responsible for care of all prenatal patients in the community of James Smith Cree Nation.
Asked to name the most fulfilling aspect of her job, she pointed to “just having the trust from these women, from the community, allowing me into their lives and … trusting me with their care.”
Bekattla has been a registered nurse for three years, during which she has consistently worked at the same clinic.
Her decision to become a nurse first arose at the time her daughter was born.
“The nurse who was taking care of me, she made an impact with me and I realized there have to be more nurses like her out there,” Bekattla recalled.
“I have no idea what her name is,” she added. “I wish I knew.”
In her current position at the health centre, Bekattla’s main priority is the Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP), a community-based program through the Public Health Agency of Canada that aims to provide support to pregnant women, new mothers and their babies.
Her work with the program involves closely monitoring the health of women during and after pregnancy.
“I make sure that all of my prenatals are going to their doctor’s appointments,” Bekattla said. “I have prenatal classes every other week. We provide good food boxes for them to help ensure that they’re having a healthy diet during pregnancy.
Once a baby is here, I usually go do a home visit. Janelle Bekattla
“Once a baby is here, I usually go do a home visit. I’ll do a full assessment on mom and baby and then register them into my program, make sure that they’re healthy.”
While the CPNP is her main focus, Bekattla also performs a wide range of other tasks as required.
“I do dressing changes if I have to,” she noted. “I go do home visits, like emergency calls. So I’m kind of all over the place.”
Despite Bekattla’s love of her career, stressful situations can occasionally arise.
She identified those times when the case load becomes particularly heavy as the most difficult aspect of her profession.
“I want to make sure that all of my clients get the same amount of time with me, the same amount of care,” Bekattla said. “But if there’s so many people that are expecting babies are on my client list, then I kind of have to prioritize the high-risk (cases).”
Aside from her prenatal care duties, she noted that the health centre is currently promoting an immunization program following a recent measles outbreak.
Speaking to the Daily Herald in the midst of National Nurses Week, Bekattla underscored her deep affection for both her occupation and work environment.
“I love my job,” she said. “I love the people I work with. I love the people I work for.”
“It’s the most rewarding career anybody could ever ask for,” she added.