Jodi Meacher (BSN ‘13)

“I have witnessed some of the most memorable moments as well as some of the hardest moments in peoples’ lives and this is both a privilege and an honour.”

Although she has already accepted a position working with the cardiac unit at her local hospital, Jodi Meacher intends to explore the wide variety of opportunities available to her overseas and in palliative care and public health. Her experience working at Insite in the Downtown Eastside has made her particularly aware of community needs.

What initially interested you about nursing? 
Nursing has so many aspects that interested me – the flexibility, the time spent with patients, the continuous learning, the endless opportunities for growth and development and the varied positions available. As a nurse you can work as a bedside nurse in so many different areas; do research; go on to become a clinical nurse specialist, an educator or a nurse practitioner; work in the community visiting patients in their homes; work at a supervised injection site; or provide public health in schools, homes or the community health centers. Nurses can also work anywhere in the world and are a valued profession.

Tell me about your experience with nursing. What have you learned that is most valuable? 
Working with the folks in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside who use Insite, the supervised injection site, has taught me so much about trauma, strength, support and community. A lot of the people who use Insite are some of the most marginalized people in our society and so many of them are just trying to survive after experiencing some form of abuse that happened in their lives. Working with participants and being a part of a community that accepts everyone is quite a privilege. To be able to accept everyone for where they are at is an important tool in nursing and will be invaluable to me throughout my career.

What has made your time at UBC the most memorable? 
Definitely the friends I made during my nursing degree. Everyone already has at least 48 credits or another degree and therefore our program is an intensive 20-month whirlwind that requires extensive support from friends, family and colleagues. We start clinical rotations in the hospital on week three of our program and spend countless hours with one another in the classroom, the labs and the hospital. We had a Facebook page and we would post study notes, inform each other of important issues and work together to make the best of our program. We also did a lot of extracurricular activities to celebrate throughout our degree. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone at our convocation and hearing about everyone’s exciting career choices!

How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC? 
Last week I was offered two jobs and I choose the Cardiac Unit at my local hospital after finishing an amazing preceptorship in the emergency department. UBC has prepared me to accept a job as an RN and to provide excellent care to my patients and their families. The clinical instructors, the students, the nurses at the sites and the professors have all worked with me to develop and improve my skills as a nurse.

What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience at UBC? 
Being the UBC Official Delegate for the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association offered me the opportunity to attend two national conferences (Saskatoon and Halifax) and one regional conference (Vancouver) where I collaborated with nursing students from all over the country. It was an amazing opportunity to learn about other nursing programs, other issues that were important in different communities and to see how nursing has the power to make a positive change in our country’s healthcare system when we all stand together on important issues! As well, I was able to develop my leadership skills which I can use throughout my career as a registered nurse.

How has your extracurricular involvement impacted your experience at UBC? 
My extracurricular involvement just added to the richness of my degree. Whether it was the Spring Sprint for the Brain Tumour Foundation, the family Easter egg hunt/potluck at Granville Island, Trampoline Dodgeball, the Boat Cruise through English Bay, the Nursing Rounds, the Health Care Team Challenge Debate, or the potluck fundraiser for FiNCA, all were rewarding, fun and helped develop relationships that will last for the rest of my life.

What are your plans for the future–immediate? Long-term? 
Immediately I want to become an ER nurse and therefore I accepted a position on the cardiac unit where I will consolidate my skills, learn all about patients with heart issues and then transfer to the emergency department after furthering my education in a critical care course. I do intend to spend at least one year abroad as nursing jobs are everywhere, and I think a year in another country would be a great experience for me and my family. I would also like to work in the community, palliative care and public health and with so many opportunities, I am sure that over my lengthy career I will be able to accomplish all of these goals.

How do you feel a degree in nursing has benefited you compared to a different field of study? What is the most rewarding aspect of your program? 
A degree in nursing set me up for a rewarding career that offers so many learning opportunities and areas to work in. Most nurses get a job right out of school and I can say that my other two degrees did not offer that benefit! It also offers a nice work/life balance that is important to me and my family. The most rewarding aspect of my program is all the people I get to meet and work with during their healthcare journey. From participants at Insite, the supervised injection site, who are among the most marginalized people in our country, to the North Shore man who has just been given a diagnosis of cancer, I am able to be with them and offer assistance as they navigate the healthcare system. As a nurse you have the opportunity and a duty to provide safe, competent care to all of your patients. I have witnessed some of the most memorable moments as well as some of the hardest moments in peoples’ lives and this is both a privilege and an honour.

Do you have any advice for future/incoming students? 
Enjoy every moment of your degree because although it may feel like it may never be over, these really are some of the greatest times of your lives! So many students to meet, partners to find, friends to go out with and studying to do… live in the moment and cherish this finite time. For students with families, I found nursing to be a very supportive degree choice as students, professors and clinical instructors are a very caring group. Although it was tough at times to manage the clinical hours, the group projects or the studying, it also made for some opportunities to educate other students about birth, parenting and family life.

How will you, Jodi Meacher, go on to make a difference in our world? 
I am quite passionate about a few areas of our healthcare system and hope to work towards opening up discussions about some of these issues. For one, I would like to bring a position statement I wrote about Supervised Injection Sites to the Canadian Nurses Association as I believe we need more sites in our country to reduce transmission of Hepatitis C, HIV and assist people to enter the healthcare system.

I also know that we are a death denying society and I would love for more people to be informed about their choices when it comes close to their time of death. At a conference this weekend we talked about how much we prepare for the birth of a baby – the prenatal care, the health care professionals, the family support and the resources we access. On the other hand, we tend to try to hide from death and not many people plan for an optimum transition when so much more can be done. Options such as palliative care and hospice care can be amazing places for family, friends and the person who is dying, but a lot of people are being missed and unable to access the resources. Or dying at home – a lot of people do not realize they may have that option as well. I also love the idea of a “Living Wake” to celebrate and have a party with the person you love before they die – to be able to say all those things you want to say and let them know how much you care about them. Or which is a not-for-profit website that allows people to leave a legacy of recording for their children or loved ones. These are just some of my passions and I intend to start by letting all my patients know about their unique options and resources.

Anything else you’d like to include? 
I would also like to say thank you to my family for their unwavering support in the face of tuition payments, exams, clinical time, papers and my extracurricular nursing activities! My partner, my parents, my au pair and my children have been so amazing, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Text provided by Applied Science Student Related News 2013 interviews