Nursing Week 2023 – A chat with promising Practical Nurses at Bow Valley College

Bow Valley College is home to some of the most promising practical nursing and internationally educated nursing students in Alberta. Our PN and IEN students are gaining the tools, knowledge, guidance, and real-world experiences to make an impact in Alberta’s healthcare industry. Most importantly, Bow Valley College’s nursing students are passionate about health care, and their ventures into the field are driven by purpose.

To celebrate Nursing Week, we sat down with various PN and IEN students at the College to gain some insight into their experience at the College, what inspired them to get into nursing, and their hopes for the future.

For most people, their journey into the healthcare industry is a personal one, and it’s no different for the nursing students at Bow Valley College. “My mom inspired me to pursue health care as a learning and career path. She would tell me about how she wanted to become a nurse when she was my age but was not able to due to financial issues,” said Christine Munoz, a student in the Practical Nursing Diploma program.

Both of my parents were nurses back home in the Philippines. My brother and sister-in-law are future doctors here in Canada. My two sisters are registered nurses working at Alberta Health Services. So, those are the reasons why I chose healthcare as a career path; it runs in my blood,” Eric Estrada shared.

The more we spoke to our students, the more we learned about the people and circumstances that propelled them into a field that requires them to care for others. From family members diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses to witnessing first responders act during the COVID-19 pandemic, our practical nursing students were inspired by a multitude of things.

During their time in the PN and IEN programs, Bow Valley College students gain a variety of skills that prepare them for real-life situations in the medical field. While each course is essential, each student had a different perspective on what was most impactful and aligned with their future ambitions. “I built relationships and a network with my fellow learners coming from diverse backgrounds. We share different ideas from our previous nursing experiences that made learning more in-depth,” says Stefani Gongaza, an IEN at the College. “ Laboratory simulations also provided a safe space for learning nursing skills and orientation to the clinical setting. The instructors are amazing and very supportive as well.”

Tammy Gordon, on the other hand, appreciated the sense of community and acceptance she found at the College. “As an older student, I was worried that I would not fit in with a mostly younger group of nursing students; however, I am blown away every day at how accepting, encouraging, and inspiring all my fellow classmates are! We cheered for each other as we got called in to do our practical lab assessments at the end of the semester and hugged each other when we came out.”

Along with their different perspectives on the impact of their courses, Bow Valley College students also have varying hopes for their futures in the field. “I look forward to working as an LPN in a long-term or acute care facility. This experience will enhance my critical thinking skills, clinical judgment, and communication skills. I would love to provide direct patient care,” Marciel Lupuz said. Many students like Eric, Christine, and Stefani also want to get straight to work after graduation as they hope to work in Alberta Health Services and become LPNs.

Other students have their hearts set on gaining more skills and continuing their education. “Once I graduate from the Practical Nurse Program, my plan is to work toward the peri-operative post-diploma certificate, which will allow me to attain a career as a per-operative nurse,” Tammy shared.

When asked what advice they would give to future PN and IEN students to ensure their success, our current students pointed out the importance of hard work, collaboration, and self-care.  “It is important to have effective study habits such as reviewing PowerPoint slides, and notes, or studying with friends. You are learning so much information in a short amount of time. It is important that you attend all classes as missing even one class puts you behind,” Christine said. “Taking care of yourself is also important. School can be draining both physically and mentally. Take some time for yourself by eating healthy and getting enough sleep.”

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