“Once I started considering nursing, my eyes were opened to this complex, versatile and captivating world. This career will teach you things that you didn’t even know you were capable of and take you places that you didn’t know existed. The vastness and depth of opportunities in nursing is very enticing and the possibility of being able to make a real change in the world on individual or global levels keeps me dreaming of the years to come.”
– Emily Kupp, Rising Stars Interviews (’14)
“Nurses are constantly acquiring more education as they move around in their careers and as medical technologies advance. But this base of nursing knowledge that we learnt in school will always be there and guide us towards best practice.”
– Emily Kupp, Rising Stars Interviews (’14)
Throughout her secondary education, Emily flourished in the sciences – more specifically, biology. The next logical step for Emily was to pursue a BSc in General Sciences, but upon completing this degree, she didn’t have much career direction. The General Sciences had given Emily an in-depth and invaluable understanding of biology, human anatomy, and physiology; however, she didn’t feel like she had the tangible, concrete skills to succeed in the job market. Until she could find a way to realize her new knowledge, Emily left the world of academia and worked as an electrician for three years before her love of sciences began tugging at her again.
Given her talents for the study of life and her passion for hands-on projects, it comes as little surprise that Emily chose to pursue nursing for her second degree. She knew that nursing would give her the directly transferable skills that academia hadn’t provided, while still letting her study the wonders of the human body.
It was in the School of Nursing that Emily really hit her stride. She threw herself into her studies and was actively involved in the School of Nursing community – even becoming the vice-president of the Nursing Undergraduate Society! As vice-president, Emily had the chance to participate in the local nursing community, despite not being a graduate nurse yet. With the N.U.S. Emily was able to attend conferences and bear witness to the impacts experienced nurses have made, perhaps seeing where her future could lead. She learned from these experiences and used her new knowledge to become a better nurse-leader and team member for the N.U.S.
Given her prominent role as a leader in the N.U.S., it’s hardly surprising that, before her graduation in 2014, Emily said that what she would remember most about her time at UBC were “the connections that [she made] with [her] fellow nursing students”. Her peers were her support system, both inspiring and grounding her.
After graduation, Emily went straight into a full-time job as a med-surg (medical-surgical) nurse at Delta Hospital Emergency Department. This job gave her some practical experience that informed the BCIT Emergency Nursing Speciality that she completed the very next year. With her new certification under her belt, Emily returned to the Delta Hospital where she brought her new specialty training back to the Emergency Department.
Nevertheless, through the rigour of working in the ED, Emily’s passion for primary care budded and blossomed. The hands-on work she did in the ED threw into sharp relief the importance of primary care, and the damage that being unable to access this care can do. Emily took it upon herself to try to remedy this. This goal in mind, Emily applied once again to UBC and to the School of Nursing as a member of the MN-NP (Masters of Nursing – Nurse Practitioner) Program.
Though she was already balancing school and her personal life, Emily still wanted to be involved in efforts impacting health care at the community level. She was elected Secretary for the Board of Directors for NutritionLink Services Society – a charity that supports and sponsors food security projects for vulnerable BC residents through education and food skill building. For Emily this is rewarding work as she and her team can involve themselves on all levels of promoting food security from identifying the needy populations to formulating ways to overcome the barriers these people have to proper nutrition. In this time she also began working as a mentor for the YWCA High School Mentorship program. Through this program Emily advises young women and teaches them about the world of careers under the umbrella of nursing and counselling. These young women hear something much like what Emily said in her 2014 Rising Stars interview: “this career will teach you things that you didn’t even know you were capable of and take you places that you didn’t know existed”. One benefit of nursing that not many people realise is that it “has the added benefit of being extremely diverse and providing you with a continually evolving list of nursing jobs and opportunities. Nurses are literally everywhere.”
In September of 2017 Emily was accepted into the MN-NP program. She is currently finishing her second semester of the program. She says the program is challenging and is pushing her to learn the breadth and depth of working as a primary care provider. In the future Emily is looking forward to moving away from the fast-paced, reactionary environment of the Emergency Department. As a nurse practitioner, she wants to take the time to work on the front line, developing long-term relationships with her patients and encouraging healthy living in our communities. “Nurses play a gatekeeper role in our health care system and it is our responsibility to listen to patients, educate them and advocate for them.” Emily believes that her skills will be best put to use working with her patients to promote their well-being through preventative care. Emily is firm in her belief that preventative, patient-centred care will have the greatest impact on the health of Canadians, and she plans to advocate for its benefits.
Reflecting on her time as a BSN student, a med-surg nurse, and a community leader, Emily gives nursing students advice too valuable to be paraphrased:
“Stick it out. Stick it out and make the most of every experience. You won’t know it at the time, but every class you take, every rotation you do, will have something to offer you, whether it’s something you’re really interested in or not. Every instructor will have a different approach and they will all have something to teach you that will make you a better nurse, and a lot of the time, a better person. You are going to get frustrated at times, and that’s when you go to one of your fellow nursing students for a good rant. But keep the big picture in view at all times, and try to remember that all of these experiences, especially the challenging ones, are preparing you bit by bit for when you step outside the gates of UBC as a Registered Nurse. Know that you have support available to you and that this career if you choose it, will be more rewarding than you can imagine.”
Written by Athena Kerins