By Raagave Kannan
What is your professional role and what inspired you to get into this field?
My name is Marie Claud Felicien and I’m a Registered Practical Nurse. If I’m being completely honest, I can’t say it was a lifelong dream to become a nurse, however, once I got into the field, I knew that’s where I needed to be. We don’t always know what our purpose in life is until we’re doing something purposeful that’s impacting positive change in the lives of others. There’s a deep-rooted sense of fulfilment that’s brought on when you’re accomplishing this on a day to day basis. What inspired me to remain, grow, cherish, love and respect this role is my service to others, more specifically women. My current role puts me in a position where I’m fortunate enough to effect change in women’s lives.
What are the current challenges for women in your sector?
I’ve had this conversation many times with friends of mine who are nurses as well, and the answer is usually unanimous across the board, the number one challenge being lack of self care. In school we’re taught the 4 Cs in nursing. One of the biggest C’s being care. This is a role where you’re really caring for others holistically (mentally, physically, emotionally) requiring you to be very present for your clients. In many instances, you’ve given so much to others, that you’ve left nothing in reserve for yourself. In my specific area of practice, I work with marginalized women, many who come from very traumatic backgrounds, where the care I provide comes from a place of familiarity and understanding (because I can identify with many of their stories, being a black woman myself), so I’m providing care that I may have needed at one point in my life. Therefore, it’s not always easy to find the perfect balance and disconnect at the end of the day or week to really allow yourself some time to restore and recharge. However, I believe it’s critically important to practice self-care and take conscientious strides to do so. The other challenge I would say is meeting client expectations, but I think that’s very common across the board in the medical field for clinicians. Where the expectation is that you should always have the answer to completely resolve or fix every medical issue.
What advice would you give someone looking to start working in your sector?
I would say, if you’re truly passionate about being of service to others, if it’s important to you to be in a role where the work that you do contributes to someone’s holistic health, then please consider nursing because we always need great nurses. I believe that the practice of any clinician has to be informed by these two areas, otherwise you will never truly feel like you’re making a difference or be fulfilled in what you do.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Celebrating women from all walks of life for their contribution (no matter how big or small) to where we stand and really being grateful for all the steps that are being made towards Women’s Equality and Women’s Rights Movements, though I do believe they should be accelerated.
Which women are you inspired by in your local community?
In my local community, it would be amiss if I didn’t mention my mother and sisters, they are some of the most resilient women that I know. They have shaped and molded me into the person that I am in so many ways. Truth be told, I’m inspired by all women and standing up for other women in our community. Many of whom are not public figures but are beyond dedicated to women’s rights and equality. I work with an incredible group of women. I’ve learned so much from them and no matter where my career takes me, my practice will always be informed in one way or another, by what I learned working with them at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands.
What role or impact would you like to play in relation to women’s rights today?
To be a voice to the voiceless women (those who think they are but have not dug deep enough to realize their true power and potential) about how their rights should be acknowledged in their personal and professional lives. To really encourage women and let them know that their voice is mighty. To let them know that they matter, they are equal, they are deserving, and they are powerful beyond the preconceived limitations that they have lived their lives by. I believe in doing so, I’m also reinforcing this to myself and I’m grateful that on some level, I’m able to do so with my clients today.