December 17, 2018
I graduated from the McMaster BScN Program in 1996.
I am a senior manager with Canadian Mental Health Association, Muskoka-Parry Sound and the Manager of Quality Improvement. My current position is quite diverse and touches on all aspects of the mental health and addiction services that our agency provides. These include crisis intervention, counselling, Aboriginal Mental Health Program, etc. I have the pleasure of being involved with various committees and working groups within the mental health and addiction sector.
How I got here:
After I graduated from the BScN program, I completed my Master of Nursing, Advance Nursing Practice degree specializing in psychiatry/mental health at the University of Alberta, graduating in 1999. During my graduate studies I worked in the mental health and addiction sector both within residential treatment and in-patient psychiatry. Following graduation I remained with the University of Alberta’s School of Nursing for a year as Clinical Instructor. Relocating back to Ontario, I began working with my current employer in 2001 as a Registered Nurse on an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team and subsequently progressed through various leadership positions, ultimately leading me to my current position since 2012.
Why I chose McMaster for my BScN degree:
While I was in high school I worked part time as an orderly within the emergency department at the Sudbury General Hospital. This experience opened my eyes to the possibilities of nursing as a profession. At the same time, my brother was accepted into the school of medicine at McMaster and through him I learned about McMaster’s approach to teaching and learning, which resonated for me. I was not successful on my first application to McMaster but was accepted to a school of nursing at another university. Instead of accepting that offer, I made a tactical decision to enroll at McMaster for my first year within Social Studies and reapply to nursing the next year. I was successful on my second attempt. I remember my high school guidance counsellor telling me that I would never get accepted at McMaster and that I should accept the offer from the other university; that being an “average student” I should be grateful. I remember disagreeing with that guidance counsellor and with the support of my parents took that risk. I have never regretted my decision to take that risk, and it was a great life lesson that I have applied ever since.
How my experience at Mac has helped me:
The approach to education and learning at McMaster really fit my personality and helped me develop my strengths and recognize where I needed to personally develop. In my current work, I am often interacting with groups of people and under challenging circumstances. McMaster’s approach to group learning helped me develop self-reflection and self-evaluation skills that have supported my abilities to be successful in these circumstances. Also, my BScN education required a high degree of self-direction and independence in learning which is a highly transferable skill and behaviour when working within ambiguous and newly emerging health care environments.
If you are a graduate of the School of Nursing, we'd love to hear from you and learn about your experiences. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.