While working at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital as a certified medical laboratory assistant, Melissa Nuttall had access to all units of the hospital. She became familiar with the hospital setting while feeling particularly drawn to the emergency room. She enjoyed working with the patients and problem solving which led her to want to return to school and obtain a nursing degree.
Fast forward three years later and today Melissa is attending the University of Victoria to continue her studies towards completion of a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing. She is currently in her third year of the program with help from the St. Joseph’s Nursing Alumnae and RNFBC. Melissa is this year’s recipient of the St. Joseph’s Alumnae bursary award offered by RNFBC.
Melissa learned about RNFBC bursary awards on the University of Victoria School of Nursing website. “This
award has helped me in so many ways. Post-secondary education is very costly today; and, I have accumulated a high amount of student debt in the process of realizing my dream. I also was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in the first year of the program. Though my illness is controlled, I have had to work less in order to keep myself healthy while I pursue my education. I want to take this opportunity to truly thank RNFBC and the St. Joseph’s Alumnae for their support in helping me realize my goals.”
Melissa’s goal is to be a registered nurse in the emergency room. It is her immediate goal to complete her Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing with the Emergency Room specialty course. She looks forward to gaining experience working in an emergency room so she can continue to develop her assessment skills and respond quickly with appropriate interventions. “I want to hone these skills so I can be an effective and confident nurse working in a rural community in Northern Canada where I will not have the support that I would have in a larger urban centre hospital.” Melissa has so far completed placements in medical, surgical, paediatric and maternity units.
Melissa’s passion for nursing does not end with her studies or work at Royal Jubilee Hospital. She began exploring global health issues by participating in two international field schools in developing countries. The first was in Nepal and the second was in the Philippines. “These field schools were an amazing opportunity for me to begin looking at issues of how social, political and environmental influences can shape the health of a population.”
Melissa also has aspirations to return to the University of Victoria and complete an advanced practice nursing degree for the Nurse Practitioner Master’s Program. She has interest in the politics of healthcare and advancing the nursing profession. She hopes to be active in the Canadian Nurses Association and help to lobby for the change of laws which would allow for Nurse Practitioners to effectively help the public with access to primary health care. When asked how she feels about nursing as a profession, Melissa says, “I feel this profession truly allows me to be satisfied with my work and know that I am making a difference in someone’s life. We see people at their most vulnerable times and it is our compassion and care that helps them through the hard times and allows for healing to occur.” RNFBC wishes Melissa well in her continued aspirations and pursuit of nursing excellence.
Photo provided by Melissa Nuttall.