Growing up in Alberta, BCIT Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Christina Dixon always had a passion for arts and the outdoors. It was natural fit when she decided to move to beautiful British Columbia to enjoy the province’s greatest outdoor adventures while completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art.
Upon graduation, Christina worked in the arts industry and frequently went on rock climbing adventures during her free-time. However, she felt she was missing a fulfilling aspect in her career.
While working as a multidisciplinary artist, Christina also took on a job at MEC, and started volunteering with Climb and Conquer, a rock climbing organization that helps at-risk and disadvantaged youth, due to her passion for youth mental health. Combining volunteering with her biggest hobby allowed Christina to confirm that she wanted a career where she could help more people.
Applying to one of the largest nursing programs in BC
After sharing this satisfaction and happiness with her friends, some of them recommended that she go into nursing. She applied to the BCIT Bachelor of Science in Nursing program after doing extensive research and comparison with other nursing programs. The power of word of mouth and the program graduates’ high employment rate of 98% convinced Christina that BCIT would be best in preparing her for job-readiness.
Christina is now in her last term at BCIT and set to graduate this summer. “BCIT has a nice, balanced education of theory, and hands-on experience. I am surrounded by a small cohort of classmates who are supportive, passionate, and also motivate me. It feels like a community and team, making a strong parallel to the clinical setting. As an Indigenous nursing student, I am honoured and very prepared to make a long-term difference, while creating a culturally safe and supportive environment for patients from all backgrounds, “she says.
Helping others reconnect with their Indigenous roots
Apart from the nursing education gained, BCIT has also helped Christina reflect and connect with her Indigenous roots. Prior to BCIT, Christina knew she was Métis but didn’t acknowledge it much due to feeling culturally isolated. During her time here, Christina become involved with BCIT Indigenous Services and became an Indigenous Peer Mentor. Indigenous students would drop in and speak with Christina on a peer-to-peer level. Christina hopes to be a role model and support for other Indigenous peoples upon graduation. Indigenous nurses are under represented – for example, Christina is the only self-identified Indigenous student in her cohort. Indigenous peoples face many barriers and discrimination in Canada’s current health system, and may be reluctant when going to the hospital. By becoming a nurse, Christina aims to be a comforting presence, and to create a safe and trusting environment for Indigenous patients in addition to providing culturally appropriate care through mutual understanding.
Recognizing Christina’s contributions to the BCIT community, BCIT Indigenous Services Advisor Zaa Joseph shares, “Christina is an amazing part of our Indigenous Services team. She makes herself available to other Indigenous students looking for that peer-to-peer support. It is also powerful to see a strong Indigenous person going into healthcare. We are honoured to be part of Christina’s BCIT career and are sure that she will continue to enhance the industry as a mentor to other Indigenous peoples in nursing.”
After graduation, Christina intends to find a nursing position closer to Squamish, a haven for rock climbers. Once she has enough work experience, Christina would like to enroll in the BCIT Emergency Nursing Specialty program. After that, she would also like to obtain her remote and rural nursing certification to assist Indigenous communities.
Christina Dixon’s advice for prospective nursing students
For prospective students, Christina shares this advice, “Be curious and unafraid. Even if you don’t feel as if you’re qualified. Many people are book smart, but what is important for a career in nursing is to be compassionate. Excellent motivation will get you anywhere you need to go.”
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Interested in BCIT Nursing?
The BCIT Nursing program just celebrated 50 years of being a major provincial contributor of nurses. BCIT students graduate with the expertise and capabilities to work in a multitude of healthcare settings including community clinics, public health, education, or leadership. Learn more about the lifelong career options and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
Note to media: If you are interested in interviewing Christina Dixon about her journey into Nursing at BCIT, please contact Amy Chen, 778-984-7245.