Health Programs

Special Focus: What I Do as a CUPS Nurse

As a nurse at CUPS, I undertake a few roles. In all of my roles, my main concerns – beyond nursing care – are to advocate for patients’ well-being, and to build a relationship of trust and engagement with patients so they are motivated and supported in becoming actively involved in their own health.

During walk-in hours at CUPS Primary Care Clinic, nurses address a wide range of patient needs, from simple minor wound care to assessing and escalating more serious and urgent matters to physicians, nurse practitioners or EMS. We also assess patients for CUPS Dental Clinic.

I also run a weekly foot care clinic that provides medically necessary foot care to many of Calgary’s homeless and low-income people. Foot care is especially important for those with diabetes, Hepatitis C and otherwise medically compromised feet. It is non-invasive and allows patients to relax and let down their guard. This facilitates strong relationship-building and we’ve had regular attendance from many people who would not normally seek needed medical attention, nor prioritize attending their medical appointments. 

As a CUPS Outreach Nurse, I spend 2 days a week working in 2 harm reduction buildings of a CUPS partner agency that houses some of the most vulnerable people in our city. They have all been homeless and often have complicated medical histories, typically including concurrent medical and mental health diagnoses—usually including alcoholism. Relationship-building is incredibly important in this role and even though patients often choose their addiction over their health, that does not mean that we don’t try, and try, and try again. It is my job is to let them know that it is okay to not be in a good place right now, and that we will work through it in spite of the addiction (and sometimes with the addiction) so that they can become healthier, not just physically, but also emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

When working with low-income, marginalized and vulnerable patients, building a relationship of trust and caring is essential to addressing short and long-term health issues.

Diana – CUPS RN

CUPS Health Clinic Staff Awards:

Dr Rita Dahlke – 2014 Alberta Family Physician of the Year Alberta College of Family Physicians

Dr Tally Mogus – 2014 New Professional Award - Alberta College of Family Physicians

Tanya Leavitt – AHS Mackid Symposium - 2014 Multidisciplinary Team Member of the Year