By Ryan Catherine Breithaupt
McGill’s School of Nursing is at the forefront of education and service by continually adapting to rapidly changing healthcare needs. “I think one of the most inspirational things about the program itself has been the dedication that the Faculty has shown in transforming it in response to the needs of both the student and the health care sector,” says Andrea Wilmot, a 2011 graduate of the Master’s of Science (Applied) (Msc(A)) program at the School of Nursing. Wilmot joined fellow graduates at the recent Nursing Convocation Reception, honouring their exceptional achievements.
Dr. Hélène Ezer, Director of the School of Nursing, gave a toast during the event and shared some heartfelt words with graduates about this exciting transitional period in their lives. “You’ve taken yourselves a quantum leap forward. There are many things ahead and the opportunities are enormous. Never lose the confidence that you have in yourselves now.”
“It’s a great time to be getting into nursing,” said Dr. Ezer. “The respect for the profession is growing, not only among the public, but among other health professionals.”
For Wilmot, maintaining a solid network throughout the program has always been important. “I would not have come this far without the friends that I have here. To anyone who is embarking on this kind of journey [graduate studies], I would say not to underestimate the importance of the relationships and the support you get from the people around you.” She also praised the Faculty’s ability to listen and take into account the needs of students and of the industry, “They’ve taken the time to hear what we need and to really change the program in response to what we said.”
In addition to the graduating Masters, Graduate Diploma and Doctoral students, this year’s convocation also included undergraduate students, fifty-seven of which were part of the BN (I) program. “The BN students, who were in the Integration option of the BN program, are all licensed nurses,” explains Margie Gabriel, Administrative Assistant for the School of Nursing. “It is quite common that they would be working part time as nurses during their studies,” she adds. These are students who have experienced on–site the realities of a rapidly evolving profession.
Krikor Oskerijian and Jerrica McKinnon-Driscoll, two graduates of the BN (I) program who received different prizes for their outstanding academic accomplishments (Krikor, the Altshuler Prize; Jerrica, the Pearson Education in Canada Book Prize), stress the importance of perseverance and hard work. “The first few weeks are very tough. You might want to quit, but don’t; it pays off,” Krikor states. He is currently working in the pharmaceutical industry and plans to return to McGill to obtain a Master’s degree. Jerrica, who is already employed as a nurse at the Royal Victoria’s Critical Care Unit, echoes his remarks in some parting words she offers to students who are currently in the program or who are considering enrolling, “Nursing is tough, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end.”
Congratulations to the 2011 School of Nursing graduates!