Registered nurse Shannon Goo Goo-Paul honoured with Nova Scotia Rising Star Award

Shannon Goo Goo-Paul
Shannon Goo Goo-Paul

Shannon GooGoo-Paul, registered nurse at Victoria County Memorial Hospital (VCMH) in Baddeck, received the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia Rising Star Award in May.

Googoo-Paul graduated from St. Francis Xavier University (St. FX) University in 2017. As a novice nurse, she quickly took on the challenge of working in the local emergency department of a rural hospital close to her home community.

She has reached many milestones and accomplishments throughout her life, overcoming challenges.

A wife, devoted mother of five children, sister, daughter and an auntie to many, as a full-time nursing student, Googoo-Paul drove three hours every day from her home community of Waycobah to attend classes at St. FX.

She was also a caregiver to family members in her community, including her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2018. She is fluent in her Mi’kmaq language and embraces the traditional ceremonies, values and beliefs of her culture. Through these inspirational achievements and lived experience, she consistently demonstrates strength, resilience, a strong work ethic and nursing leadership while also overcoming cultural barriers.

Googoo-Paul is an active member of the nursing profession, known as an Indigenous nurse leader, having served as a mentor and tutor for other Indigenous nurses throughout her university education.

She is a strong advocate for Indigenous health issues, calls to action and truth and reconciliation, and believes in building stronger relationships with Indigenous peoples. She also wholeheartedly believes in the integration of cultural competence and cultural safety in nursing, nursing education, community-based practice and at all levels of the health care system.

Googoo-Paul aspires to improve the health of Indigenous Peoples in Nova Scotia and her home community using knowledge and culture to change current practice. As a teacher and mentor, she gently guides other nursing colleagues to a better understanding of the best ways to blend Indigenous and western knowledge for better health outcomes.

Beyond her day-to-day clinical practice, Googoo-Paul is an athlete participating in the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games. She also helps with the annual moose camp every year by cooking meals, staying up in the mountain if she is able and providing support at the camp. Her children, influenced by her active lifestyle, are in many sports. Her involvement in the community is an inspiration to others.

Indigenous nurse leaders like Googoo-Paul provide the opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients and health care providers to better understand Indigenous worldviews and the effects of racism and colonization, and to advocate for and integrate culturally safe and competent care into their practices.

This will help to address some of the cultural barriers and challenges Indigenous peoples face within our health care system.