Kate Smith is passionate about nursing

Nipissing University B.Sc.N. graduate Kate Smith

By LEN GILLIS

Being able to immerse yourself into clinical learning in the first year was something that nursing grad Kate Smith found important. She said it was a valid reason to sign up for the B.Sc.N. program at Nipissing University in North Bay.

“I knew that I wanted to be a nurse, and I also knew that I wanted a school that was far away from my home town in southern Ontario,” Smith said.

“Nipissing, along with a few other universities had achievable entry averages, and gave me the small, close knit feel that I wanted from a university. When I looked into the nursing program further, it provided us with clinical experiences starting in first year, which was highly uncommon among other schools and something that was very important to me.”

Smith said that was confirmed for her very quickly and she said it was “amazing”.

“The Nipissing nursing program is pretty heavy on clinical. In first year you get the opportunity to shadow a nurse for 20 hours over the first semester. This was an amazing experience and helped reaffirm that I was in the right program,” she said.

Smith also enjoyed her second semester where students were assigned to the hospital or other hands-on learning in the community for two days a week. She said those days helped her feel more confident with her ability to communicate with patients and perform nursing skills.

“They also helped me create some of the best friendships I have ever had. Nipissing University is a small university, and the nursing program is even smaller which helped to create a community where I could take advantage of leadership opportunities and get to know my peers.”

She added that despite Nipissing being a smaller school, it didn’t mean that achieving her four-year degree was an easy thing.

“University in itself is a huge transition, and nursing is one of the more challenging degrees. This meant that I had to really apply myself in first year when my peers in other programs had so much more free time,” Smith revealed.

“And then I found that when I had free time the true impact of the career of nursing would hit me. Nurses are such a pivotal role in healthcare and they can make the difference in healthcare outcomes. It was hard to imagine at times, especially in first and second year, that there would be a point where I would have enough knowledge and know enough skills that I could actually take care of someone alone! It can be daunting, but I’m so glad I stuck with nursing!”

Smith’s passion for her chosen career was obvious from her comments as she described how she hopes to work in a challenging situation where she can interact with long term care patients.

“I love nursing because of all of the interesting people you get to meet. Spending time with the patients and taking time to care about who they are and listen to their stories will always be a motivation for me in the future. Due to this, I tend to be drawn to long term care nursing opportunities. However a position I could see myself in and think I would really enjoy would be as an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse (ETN), or a nurse who specializes in wound and ostomy care. I had the good fortune of spending my preceptorship with an ETN and really loved the opportunity,” she said.

Smith also offered interesting comments about the time and preparation that might be needed by some students as they consider their career choices.

“I took some time off between high school and university. This really helped me to spend time thinking about what interests me and talking to established professionals about their career paths. I think that asking someone to know what they want to do for the rest of their life at age 17, or 18 or 19, is ridiculous. If you aren’t sure, it’s better to take some time, work, travel and explore your opportunities before deciding,” Smith said.

That said, Smith also expressed gratitude for those who enhanced her education in North Bay.

“Nipissing University and the North Bay Regional Health Centre made my learning experience so amazing, and the people who I met along the way went out of their way to help me grow, and I am so thankful to all of them!”

Filed in: Education, News

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