KaSandra Kopytko is normally found working in her role as a Licensed Practical Nurse/Operating Room Technician (LPN/ORT) in the Regina General Hospital and Pasqua Hospital Operating Rooms.
But since May 2, she’s been in La Loche, working as Mobile Testing team organizer.
“I found out at noon (on May 2) that I was deployed to La Loche, and I had started driving by 2 p.m.,” KaSandra explained.
Her experience in that community, she said, “has been nothing short of amazing. It has changed my entire life.”
Every single person she has interacted with on her deployment – the team she works with, and the people who live in La Loche, Buffalo Narrows, and surrounding communities – has had an impact on her life, she reported.
“I have always loved the north and have always wanted to work in a Northern nursing role, but my title as an LPN has limited my practice in that. When this opportunity came up I knew I had to do it and I was so very excited to join the team in La Loche.”
Kopytko says she has grown both professionally and personally in her short time in the North.
“I have been out in the community testing, monitoring and educating, as well as at the desk learning new administrative skills. “As I work every day, 12-hour days, I thought I would be getting tired, burnt out and ineffective, but the energy I have working up here has surprised me as well. I think it has to do with the people I’m working with and the people in the community of La Loche. Everyone has been so kind, loving and welcoming. The Dene people of the community have laughed with me and at me, we’ve cried together and complained together. It’s been a remarkable and valuable experience.”
The populations of the communities and the teams she is now with are extending love and acceptance to everyone around them, she added. “We have morning bonding exercises with Dr. Laura and we have tremendous support for our mental health and well being.”
Professionally, her tenure on deployment has an ulterior motive.
“It is my goal to prove that LPNs can expand past their limitations into roles that were traditionally not reserved for them,” she says. “We can empower each other to be more, do more, and reach greater heights through this.”
From left: KaSandra Kopytko with team members, RNs Cassidy Siebert and Chrissy Munroe, and local community member, Leona who navigated the addresses and streets of La Loche and surrounding areas. Four community drivers were truly instrumental in the mobile testing task, Kopytko reported. They know the community like the back of their hand, an invaluable resource.