Nurses put the heart into health care

When the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, no one could have imagined the eyes of the world would be focused on the dedicated and courageous work of nurses in a global pandemic.

As Canada’s largest group of health care professionals (there are 431,000 regulated nurses providing comfort and care to Canadians on the front-lines and behind the scenes every day), the nursing workforce is critical to our country’s robust pandemic response, to our public health care system and to our private health insurance industry.

Nurses work in a variety of settings, from clinical care to in-home care and more recently virtual care. You can find Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses (RNs and LPNs) and former nurses throughout our organization – in our offices, in air and ground ambulances and communication centres - using their skills and training to bring better health and access to care to Canadians. Here’s just a snapshot of the essential services they provide. Nurses, employed by Medavie:

  • Provide clinical advice in the development of health and drug benefit solutions
  • Reviews travel claims for members who experienced an out-of-country illness or injury as an RN consultant
  • Manage disability claims to help members return to health and work safely and quickly
  • Build relationships and meet the needs of clients as account executives
  • Service federal government contracts, including pharmacy and dental benefits for newcomers to Canada
  • Provide clinical guidance to Extra-Mural Program (EMP) clinical staff in planning care delivery
  • Provide direct care to patients in their homes as Extra-Mural Nurses
  • Provide critical care both on the ground and in the air as Critical Care flight nurses
  • Answer 811 health-related phone calls around-the-clock as Emergency Medical Care nurses

In celebration of the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and National Nursing Week in Canada, May 11 to 17, we would like to introduce you to four Medavie employees who bring extensive experience and expertise as nurses to their roles, and inherent compassion as caregivers. They are among the 6,400 men and women who make up Medavie’s workforce, all dedicated to improving the overall wellbeing of Canadians and working together toward a healthier Canada.

We invited them to tell us why they became nurses and what they love about their careers at Medavie, in their own words. Here’s what they had to say.

Julie Michaud, Critical Care Flight Nurse, Ambulance NB, Air Ambulance Operations
Julie started her studies at l’Université de Moncton in a general health sciences program and eventually settled into Nursing. She graduated with a Bachelor degree in Nursing Science and started her career in the Emergency room at the Moncton Hospital. In 2015, she was looking for a bit of a change and started looking into the Air Ambulance Program with Ambulance New Brunswick. She has been working as a Critical Care Flight Nurse since then. She also continues to work casual hours in the Emergency Department and teach trauma courses with the New Brunswick Trauma Program.

I always knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field. I just wasn’t sure in what role. A nursing degree offered a great start with endless job opportunities. Once I started working as a nurse I knew I had found my niche.

The Air Ambulance Program provides critical care transport for the ill and injured residents of New Brunswick. Our team consists of two RNs for one patient, which means we can ensure that the patient gets the best care while traveling to and from hospitals. We deliver critical care in the air. Sometimes we transport patients who require expert consultation outside of the province and may be too sick to make the journey by ground. We also bring NB residents back after they’ve received the care required outside of their home hospitals. A typical transfer takes about four or five hours, depending on the patient’s diagnosis and their destination. Depending on the day, we do about two or three transfers in our 12-hour shift. When we take off we can be flying all day in all sorts of weather. We always need to be prepared - hydrated, caffeinated and fed – in anticipation of long shifts.

This is definitely the best job I never knew was out there for a nurse. I work with an exceptional team that ensures critically ill individuals receive the best care during inter-facility transport. We have a broad scope of practice with a high level of autonomy and independence. We receive ongoing training to maintain a high degree of clinical competence. We get to meet and work alongside health care professionals from all over New Brunswick, as well as other provinces. Being a Flight Nurse is challenging, sometimes unpredictable and also very rewarding.

Teresa Irving, Registered Nurse, New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program
Teresa became interested in nursing through her mother, who was a huge influence on her. She graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1992 with a Bachelor of Nursing. After graduation, Teresa started out part time in pediatrics at Charlotte County Hospital in St. Stephen, NB. Since then, her career has taken her through a wide range of nursing practices, including medical-surgical and maternity nursing, before spending the next 10 years in Charlotte County Hospital’s emergency department. She started in her current role within the Extra-Mural Program (EMP) 12 years ago, working out of the St. Stephen unit.

The Extra-Mural Program is a wonderful place to work. We work well as an interdisciplinary team proving excellent care to our clients. You get to know the clients and family, while providing exceptional care.

Every day is different with the variety of clients I visit. I could see anything from a house-bound client who is lonely and needs a general assessment, to a client with a dressing or intravenous medication, to a client who is dying at home. That is what makes EMP a great place to work – no day is the same.

Tracey Armstrong, Manager IRCC Contract and MAC Pharmacy/Dental, Medavie Blue Cross
An RN for over 28 years, Tracey began her career at Moncton’s Dr. Georges L. Dumont Hospital in intensive care before she joined the newly formed Medavie Blue Cross Special Authorization Unit (SAU) for Federal Programs in 1998. As a young mother, she was looking for a rewarding career that offered a work-life balance to spend quality time with her growing family. Today, Tracey oversees the 78-member Medical Authorization Centre (MAC) Pharmacy and Dental teams, which are responsible for making decisions concerning health needs for products that require authorization. The primary goal of these teams are to ensure positive health care outcomes through on-line case assessment.

I became a nurse because I enjoy helping people.
I wanted a career that would have a meaningful impact on the lives of others. Nursing provides opportunities to work in many diverse areas, within the public sector and the private sector, and has opened so many doors for me.

I was drawn to critical care, and spent the early years of my career working in cardiac step down and surgical intensive care.

My experience in critical care prepared me to work in the fast-paced environment of the special authorization unit. As one of the managers in federal-administered programs, I am responsible for a team that includes 24 RNs and nine LPNs, in addition to other health professionals.

I am proud of the work my team accomplishes on a day-to-day basis. These nurses draw on their own hospital and community-based experiences to provide the best possible outcomes for the clients we serve.

Working as a nurse at Medavie Blue Cross has challenged me and provided the opportunity for my career to grow. I am very proud of my nursing profession, and my nursing colleagues. Nurses have long been recognized as one of the most trusted professions, and each nurse on my team is deserving of that acknowledgement.


As you can read from their stories, nurses replace name genuinely put the heart into health care. As we celebrate National Nursing Week, let us show nurses how much we care for them. Join us in expressing our appreciation to nurses for being there when the world needs them -during these difficult days - and every day. Like and share our posts on social media and share the #weheartourhealthcareworkers hashtag. Nurses, and all health care professional, truly deserve our thanks.


Our Mission is to Improve the Wellbeing of Canadians.

Medavie is a health company that oversees Medavie Blue Cross and Medavie Health Services. Together, we’re bringing Canadians better health and access to care.