Alumna-turned-instructor: How support led Graduate Jen Vloebergh back to Bow Valley College
The support Bow Valley College graduate Jen Vloebergh received as a student in the Practical Nurse Diploma program not only led to a successful career but has also inspired her to come back and offer the same to other students.
As she prepared to enter her work placements, Jen says this support from her instructors was paramount in helping her build confidence.
“I think it gave me a really good start at preparing me for the transition in my career in healthcare,” she says. “They were very supportive and provided me with great experiences to ensure that when I went out and got my first job in a very acute cardiology setting, it was a little less scary than it would have been if I didn't have these experiences.
Before becoming a student at the College, Jen had been working in health care for several years and knew it was her calling but was still searching for her niche in the field. After starting off as a medic, she transitioned to working in a clinic. Working with the nursing team made her realize where she belonged.
Jen began looking into program options available in Calgary and saw that not only did Bow Valley College receive positive feedback, but the staff were also very helpful as she navigated the steps she needed to take as she prepared to begin this new chapter.
“The College was really receptive to my questions and in helping guide me through the process and what I needed to do to go back to school, especially as an adult learner with kids,” she says. “That was very encouraging when you know you have that support, and you already have a lot going on.”
Jen chose the Practical Nurse diploma program after considering the impact of taking time out of the workplace and the busyness of being a mom. She was impressed by the scope of practice for practical nurses in Alberta and the option to complete an additional two years if she decided she’d like to pursue becoming a registered nurse in the future.
Currently, Jen works in the emergency department at the Peter Lougheed Centre and teaches in the Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk certificate program at the College. As an alumna, she looks forward to engaging with students and the alum community in ways that have been meaningful to her.
“I feel like it does give me a kind of a unique perspective, both with my own students and being able to speak as someone who has been in their seats in the exact same school,” she says. “As an alumna, still getting to be on campus and seeing how things change and grow gives me a unique experience in this transition.”
For future students, Jen offers this advice: “Don’t be afraid to seek out the experiences that you want, even if you're kind of scared and worry you’re not good enough. Go for it. You will have people out there that will be your mentors and can help guide you and support you until you feel comfortable.”