USask graduate student receives commemorative gift

Carrie Pratt, RN, receives special recognition for winning Indigenous Graduate Leadership Award.

College of Nursing graduate student Carrie Pratt is one of a select group of people being recognized for outstanding scholarly activity and leadership through a special gift from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS).

The gift is in recognition of the Indigenous Graduate Leadership Award Pratt received in 2019—a USask scholarship created in 2018 to acknowledge leadership through active community engagement and research productivity.

As the scholarship enters its third year, Pratt has the distinction of being the second College of Nursing student to receive the award (PhD nursing student Melissa Dykhuizen first won the scholarship in 2018) and one of the first-ever USask students to receive the new commemorative gift from CGPS.

The gift—a framed reproduction of a 100-year-old photograph from University Archives— features USask’s iconic Administration Building and Thorvaldson Building. It was originally intended to be presented as part of a May 22 public recognition event; however, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing requirements, the event was re-imagined as a digital magazine celebrating 20 deserving USask scholarship winners.

Carrie Pratt, RN, is from Birch Hills, Saskatchewan, and is of Cree, Métis, and Settler ancestry. While completing full-time studies in the Master of Nursing Thesis Program at the University of Saskatchewan, she has also been actively tackling a number of additional responsibilities.

Since June of 2017, she has worked as a registered nurse offering rural homecare with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and has been conducting community research focussing on the experiences of First Nation and Métis mothers who have given birth in Saskatchewan hospitals.

Pratt avidly supports the use of traditional Indigenous teachings to assist mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. She strongly advocates the incorporation of these teachings into practices that promote the healthy development of infants and children in local communities.

“I’m grateful [for my work with the SHA] because it has helped me to stay current with my clinical nursing skills while affording me the flexibility and time required to complete my research and master’s program at USask,” Pratt said.

During this program, College of Nursing professor and trained midwife Angela Bowen (RN, PhD) served as Pratt’s thesis supervisor. Bowen was delighted to support her former research assistant’s nomination for the Indigenous Graduate Leadership Award.

“Carrie has sought, and continues to seek, opportunities to extend her knowledge about her culture and research with Indigenous peoples. She is a strong, caring, responsible student who demonstrates ongoing leadership […] to promote culturally secure birth for Indigenous mothers in Saskatchewan,” said Bowen.

For Pratt, the commemorative gift she will be receiving in recognition of her scholarship “is a beautiful reminder” of the time and energy she poured into her research and completing her master’s degree.

“I receive the gift as acknowledgement for my service to our community and I would like to thank all of the mothers who participated in my research.”

Pratt says she is grateful for the award that helped her to study and contribute to progress in the College of Nursing and in local communities. In particular, she thanks Dr. Bowen as well as Dr. Holly Graham, PhD.

“The quality of my work would not have been the same without their expertise, mentorship, and support,” Pratt said.

After she receives her master’s degree this spring, Pratt plans to continue her research and to seek new opportunities for education and leadership in areas involving First Nation and Métis family health and wellbeing.

“The wonderful thing about nursing is there are opportunities in so many areas. Given the interesting times the world is facing, it is difficult to anticipate what the future will look like—but I do expect there to be many opportunities for innovation in nursing.”

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