Monday, July 2, 2012

Nursing: Graduation and Jobs!

It is pretty amazing to think about the last few years of my life... in many ways.  I remember the day that I wrote the MCAT in the Fall of 2008, and knew on that day that my life would not be aimed towards becoming a physician.  I was a bit lost, because that is what I had thought I wanted to do for many many years.  I knew that, but, I also knew what I was passionate about:  the physical body and health care, helping people, community, and (well... africa).  The thing that I thought about being doctor, was the extreme amount of "influence" that they can have on people.... Life changing.  But, I also forgot about all the other professions that can be equally influential.

through a journey that I don't necessarily need to outline again, I found nursing. And, boy, am I ever glad that I did.  Nursing has changed by life, my perspective, and makes me exceptionally excited about the career that I have ahead of me.  The last three years at McGill, in the direct-entry program, has been the most challenging and humbling, yet the most rewarding educational experience of my life.  I think that the perspective that the general public has of nurses is so diverse... and, when I say I am a Master's trained nurse, there is the inevitable question:  why not medicine?  well... because I want to be a nurse.  I never knew it before, but, I know it now.  I am a nurse!  I am not "just" a nurse.

 I have realized more and more that I am not interested in the diagnosing...  probably the reason why I wouldn't pursue my Nurse Practitioner.  I am interested in policy, and education, and working to figure out the complex ways of overcoming barriers to care, and working side by side with patients and families.

The direct entry program is so unique.  And, one of the really unique things is that you have a small class.  We started with about 17 people.  After the first "qualifying' year, we lost Beth, Annie, Will, Carmen.  All my close friends.  It kinda sucked.  but, the friendships that  you gain with the people in your class continue to grow and grow.  First year (i'm not going to lie), I wasn't all that impressed with my initial impressions.  by graduation... WOW.  I love these girls.  They are amazing, and I will miss them terribly!  Especially the girls in Global Health Stream, of which there is a special degree of torture, stress, anxiety, and reward to which we mutually experience.  The girls that I have met over the past 3 years are smart, beautiful, funny, and oh so talented nurses.

The professors that I have had are so inspirational as well.  Not only do they "scare" me into being a good academic, they are caring, professional nurses.  They take the time to talk to you (at least they try!), and tell you when you are going off track.  They are not easy.  but, in order to be a good nurse, you need to be educated with high standards.
we gotta do something about recruiting more tall women into the profession...

When I was in Montreal in late-may/Early june with my mum for graduation, it was a perfect end.  to enjoy a city that has been my off-and-on city.  To see my friends that I will not see for a long time.  To run in the eastern townships, and engage in relaxing spa experience with my mum.  To have a party or two with the girls.  And then... to walk across the stage with them, and remember our accomplishments.

Finally, immediately after my return from Montreal, I had a job interview the next morning.  I had a little freak out, because I didn't feel prepared for it... I didn't know *how* to prepare for it.  But, all I knew was that it was my dream job.  A position at Vancouver Coastal Health, on their clinical outreach housing team.  It is located in the Downtown East Side, and you work autonomously in the shelters and hotels in the community.   As a nurse, you go out to meet people who would not otherwise access healthcare, offering primary care.  It involves a lot of mental illness, addiction, and harm reduction.  I don't know much about the details of the position.  But, I went into the interview, and knew that I would love it.  The first indication was that my interviewers had sleeve tattoos, and facial piercing.  The second indication was that there were dogs present in the office.  These are things I love.

I felt good with the interview, and was happy that they gave me the questions, 10-minutes prior to going into the interview.  Of course, following the interview, I felt like I could've had "better" answers, but, I felt like I gave a good presentation of myself, my knowledge, and my beliefs.

It took them forever.... Like 3 weeks... to get back to me (despite them sending me emails every once and a while saying... "we'll let you know soon!").  and, it was killing me.  I was pulling out my "how am I going to find a job?  who can I network with?"  ideas.  And then, finally.  When I was riding last monday with my Uncle Don  (who is riding his bike across canada for YMCA Strongkids Campaign) and Cousin Rob to Harrison Hot Springs, I got the call.  Since I was on my bike, I was unable to talk at that point.  But, later in the afternoon, I was told "If you still want it (um, of course!), the job is yours!"

So, as soon as some paperwork bureaucracy is over and done... I can start!  I was supposed to start tomorrow (um, best birthday ever?!?!), but, it will probably be Tuesday.

so that's it for now, folks!

this week: new job, birthday, and 1/2 ironman on Sunday!  BIG WEEK!


Alexa said...

congrats chickie, I am proud of you! way to find a great job so soon!

Bonnie said...

Happy Birthday from Balfour BC!

Nayomi said...

Hi, I loved your writing. I will be doing the direct entry program at McGill as well so I found it very helpful. I was just wondering if you had to do both OIIQ exam and BC lisencing exam in order to practice in BC. Thanks :)

Larissa G said...

Hi Amelia,

I stumbled across your blog when doing a bit of research on McGill's Direct-Entry Nursing Program. I'm also from Vancouver and would want to return here after completing the program at McGill and the path you have taken to Nursing seems very similar to my ideal path! I was wondering if you might be open to discussing your experiences with me? If you are not comfortable with sharing with a complete stranger, I completely understand, but I'd like to thank you in advance for your consideration in either case :)

All the best,

Carly Heck said...

Hi Amelia,
Rather out of the blue, but would you would be willing to speak with me about your nursing education experiences?
I am about to start the McGill DE Nursing program this fall, and I also plan to pursue a career on the Canadian west coast. I am most interested in studying health service systems for marginalized groups, especially for women and Indigenous communities.

Amelia Birch said...

Hi All,

I am happy to speak about the DE program and McGill, and congrats on your acceptance!!! Feel free to email me roweramo at gmail.