June 1, 2022 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

Nicole Yawney, MSW ’21, was recently awarded the Children’s Miracle Network Canadian Impact Award during the Children’s Hospitals Week Conference in Orlando, Florida. The award, which is reserved for one doctor, nurse, caregiver, or team across Canada, recognizes their significant impact on the care provided to children in their hospital.

“This award has meant so much to me, my family, parents, aunties, uncles and nation. My parents and family are survivors of the residential school system. Their path to overcome many pains and obstacles has guided me to the journey of Indigenous healing. It is an honour to be building a program specific to Indigenous youth supporting mental health and cultural wellness within the Children's Hospital. This award has shed light on the importance of having culture in healthcare,” says Yawney, a Saulteaux from Fishing Lake First Nation, Saskatchewan from Treaty Four.

Yawney has been working as the Indigenous Youth Wellness Consultant for Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre for the last ten months. The Children’s Hospital has praised her for making “a profound difference in the lives of Indigenous families requiring care at Children’s Hospital. She has built meaningful therapeutic relationships that create an atmosphere of belonging and safety for Indigenous patients and their families while in hospital. Her expertise, compassion and lived experience helps open doors for her patients to feel accepted, understood and welcomed to incorporate traditional Indigenous healing practices into their care.”

Yawney says she envisions growing the program with Elders and more Indigenous Youth Wellness Consultants on site supporting families as they navigate the hospital system.

“Each small show of support and appreciation means more awareness of Indigenous-led care and more impact on the lives of Indigenous children and their families. We are so excited to see Nicole’s hard work and dedication recognized in such a large way,” says Scott Fortnum, President and CEO of Children’s Health Foundation. 

Yawney says she is glad she had the opportunity to further her education as part of King’s Master of Social Work program. She hanks King’s for being “able to build on the skills and experience to work further in the field of mental health and take courses related to my interests, like Indigenous social work.”