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Call of the Wild

September 2, 2021

Emergency Department Nurse Jaime Manness Recharges on Manitoba’s Hiking Trails

Emergency Department Nurse and President of Hike Manitoba, Jaime Manness.

While on shift in the Health Sciences Centre’s Emergency Department, Clinical Resource Nurse Jaime Manness rarely has a moment to pause. Her regular task list—which includes overseeing the movement and flow of patients, patient care assignments, and addressing immediate patient and family concerns—has changed significantly due to the pandemic.

“Nurses continue to be the primary caregivers, but they’re also taking on emotional support roles in the absence of family at the bedside,” shares Manness, a nurse since 2009. “Ever-evolving policy and procedure is a positive sign that we are shifting our practices and staying current and relevant. The changes have become more frequent through the pandemic, but the ability to adapt and overcome is in the very fabric of the nature of ER nurses.”

Manness has found that mindfulness has been a great asset in her incredibly demanding career. Her strategy is to take time to pause and reflect on the day and her interactions. This typically occurs during Manness’s drive home or while hiking Manitoba’s trails—a hobby that Manness has recently turned into a business, “Hike Manitoba.”

Jaime Manness, her fiancé Ed, and their dog Jasper take advantage of one of Manness’ days off to go for a family hike.

“I was routinely asked for suggestions for hiking trails and tips for better hiking experiences,” explains Manness. “I made an off-the-cuff comment to my fiancé, Ed, that I was going to write a book about hiking in Manitoba. He thought it was brilliant and would casually bring the idea up in conversation over the following two years.”

After careful consideration, Manness sat down with all of the trail notes from hiking in Manitoba and put together her first book. Titled ‘Hike Manitoba,’ Manness marvels at her timing as her debut book launched; during a global pandemic when travel outside of Manitoba wasn’t permitted, and Manitobans were looking for ways to pass the time and get outside. “Knowing that I was able to provide individuals with an option to explore Manitoba in a brand-new way has been nothing short of exciting,” she says.

What began as one book has since quickly turned into three. And while Manness is happy to tout the physical benefits of hiking, she is equally, if not more enthusiastic about the positive effects it can have on mental health.

“I can’t explain what happens when I’m on a trail—the worries, the heavy stuff we see as nurses, the emotional burden of the pandemic, the anxiety and isolation of lockdown—they all somehow sort themselves out,” Manness reflects. “It is tough to explain how while on the trail, surrounded by wilderness, I’m able to centre myself and focus on what matters most.”

“Mental health is often supported by physical health and wellness but is more challenging to measure. I can’t explain what happens when I’m on a trail—putting one foot in front of the other—and the things I’ve been carrying with me somehow sort themselves out,” says Jaime Manness.The passion that Manness brings to Hike Manitoba is undeniable—and is equally matched by her love of nursing. “I challenge myself to take every opportunity as it presents itself to better my communication skills, bedside nursing skills, and leadership skills,” she enthusiastically shares. And, as a frontline worker, Manness is particularly grateful for all the incredible donors who choose to make gifts to the HSC Foundation.

“It is challenging to find words that are big enough to express gratitude for folks who give for no reason other than to benefit the lives of others. Words cannot express the level of gratitude I have, knowing that the incredible work of the Foundation is because of folks who have chosen to donate.”

To support Jaime Manness and the other nurses who tirelessly work in our Emergency Department, please consider making a gift to the HSC Foundation. Click here to donate today or call 204-515-5612.

For more information on Hike Manitoba, click here.


By Heather Milne