What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?
The people, especially my fellow nurses, have made my entire UBC experience unforgettable. Learning in an environment with individuals that come from varying degrees, background, and health interests was exciting and motivated me to persevere in my graduate degree in nursing.
Why did you choose Nursing?
I chose nursing because I wanted a career that involved helping people. It sounds cliché, but I wanted to do something meaningful in my chosen career. I believe helping and empowering others to improve their health require a caring mindset that makes life fulfilling. With hard work, commitment and willingness to learn, I was proud to obtain my bachelor degree in nursing five years ago and ever since, I have been working in Acute Stroke Cohort and Medical Units at Royal Columbian Hospital and Burnaby Hospital. With my graduate degree in nursing, I am eager to utilize the advanced knowledge and skills I learned to improve my nursing practice.
Tell me about your experience in Nursing. What have you learned that is most valuable?
My experience in nursing has taught me to have more patience, empathy, and a positive attitude. I also learned the value of teamwork, time management, and work-school-life balance. Working in acute hospital settings consistently reminds me that I encounter people at vulnerable moments in their lives. It is important to be present with them in their struggles and advocate for them to competently meet their needs toward better health. Specifically, the graduate courses pushed me to critically think in an even broader level and two of my favorite courses were health promotion in nursing and to my surprise, my elective on analytic methods in epidemiological research.
How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?
I acquired a tremendous amount of advanced knowledge and skills focused on nursing research and education. The nursing courses, chosen electives, and my supervisor prepared me to carry out a research study that looks into the primary care service delivery of men and women diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and comorbid depression using the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network. It is important to understand the complexity of Parkinson’s disease and recognize it is not just a motor disease but also accompanied by non-motor features that can negatively affect quality of life. I believe my research has the potential to contribute valuable knowledge and assist health care providers to care for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience studying nursing at UBC?
I appreciate the fact that the people I met were always willing to support each other. Being part of a Primary Health Care Team led by my supervisor allowed me to meet and learn about other students’ work and current projects in primary care. In my research on Parkinson’s disease, I also had the opportunity to volunteer at a national fundraising event called Parkinson SuperWalk. UBC has many groups and events including Thrive and I was glad to publish my class paper on Thrive as a health promotion intervention in UBC’s Health Professional Student Journal.
How do you feel a degree in Nursing has benefited you compared to a different field of study?
A graduate degree in nursing can provide the opportunity to integrate my advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of clinical practice, education, research, and administration, whether here in Canada and/or internationally. I believe there is truly an art and science in nursing. The work that nurses do is more complex than what the general public might think. Nursing has a rich history and though it still faces a wide range of challenges, it has come a long way to becoming a respected profession with a distinct body of knowledge that can be applied across lifespan.
What advice would you give a student considering Nursing?
Nursing will be worth it! It will not be easy, but it will be worth it! It is also an in-demand career that will allow you to work right away. The idea of returning back to graduate school needed more contemplation than my bachelor since I was already in the nursing workforce and had a taste of travelling. For students considering a graduate degree in nursing, I advise them to give it a chance and reflect on health topics they are passionate about and want to pursue as a project or thesis. I believe this will help focus and provide purpose on their decision on graduate nursing.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My parents emphasized the importance of education at an early age given that they worked hard to obtain their graduate degrees in education and engineering. They never forget to remind me how privileged I am to have a career that can make a positive difference in people’s lives. They keep me grounded while inspiring me to dream big and achieve my goals. My interest in people with Parkinson’s disease evolved from the patients I cared for in the hospital as well as when my father was diagnosed with this disease few years ago. I am also inspired by my friends, relatives, and fellow nurses who continue to support me. Most importantly, my spiritual faith in God has inspired me to give back and care for others and fortunately, I have made it into a career!
What are your plans for the future–immediate? Long-term?
Immediately, I want to publish my research study with the assistance of my supervisor. I will continue to work front-line in my hospital and seek for positions specializing in Parkinson’s disease. I would love to experience travelling and working as a nurse outside of Canada. In the long-term, I believe a graduate degree in nursing will open more opportunities and leadership positions. I hope to work in a different environment such as nursing research and education.
How will you go on to make a difference in our world?
I will have to take this endeavor one day at a time. I want to provide my patients a voice that is often missing within the healthcare system. Also, I wish to be part of educating nursing students. It is difficult to tackle broader and complex issues on my own but it is important to utilize what I learned from my years of nursing school and hospital experience. I believe my research study on Parkinson’s disease and depression within primary care will prompt future studies and hopefully reach a change in a population level. With my commitment to the profession and believing that I can make a difference in a small yet meaningful way makes being a nurse truly worthwhile!
Material provided by the Rising Stars Applied Science 2015 interviews