Celebrating our nurses during National Nursing Week

For the past several weeks, loud cheers have been heard from patios and balconies across Canada as communities rallied for a nightly applause to show support and gratitude for our frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the cheers and clanging of pots and pans will be louder than ever in celebration of our nurses on National Nursing Week from May 11 to 17.

This year’s theme, Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health, was developed by the International Council of Nurses to showcase how nurses are central to addressing a wide range of health challenges. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, we have witnessed the crucial role of nurses in healthcare.

Nurses are often unsung heroes, working in the background to care for patients. Regardless of circumstance, nurses demonstrate resilience, leadership, commitment, and compassion in providing exemplary care to all those in need. The BCIT community wholeheartedly thanks all nurses, many of whom are BCIT alumni and instructors, for their significant contribution to healthcare each day.

As part of the celebration for National Nursing Week, we feature three members of the BCIT community and their journey into the nursing profession. Follow the School of Health Sciences’ Facebook page to hear more from other nurses and healthcare professionals in the BCIT community.

BCIT National Nursing Week
Jenna Lew-Cooke is a second-year BCIT Nursing student.

On the path to become the family’s second generation nurse

“Nursing was a career I also had at the back of my mind. I knew that a career in nursing would be fulfilling and rewarding and that it had a lot of qualities I was looking for in a profession. For one, I’ve always wanted to care for other people and give back to my community and these are major features of nursing. My mother is a nurse, so I grew up in a home where I was exposed to the healthcare world and her work always intrigued, and excited me. It took some time for me to decide nursing was the right fit for me, but I am so happy about my decision. Nurses make such a difference in people’s lives and I have been able to witness the difference they make firsthand throughout this pandemic. Nurses are out there saving lives, fighting this virus and keeping us all safe! I feel really inspired to help make a difference and validated in my decision to pursue a career in nursing. My experiences in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at BCIT have prepared me to work when I graduate and to tackle unexpected challenges that will surely come my way. I feel confident that the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired during my time at BCIT will serve me well when I leave. I’m excited to head back to school and continue on my journey of becoming a nurse!”Jenna Lew-Cooke, BCIT Bachelor of Nursing student, second-year

BCIT Pawan Varaich for National Nursing Week
Pawan Varaich is a BCIT Nursing instructor and alumnus.

BCIT Nursing alumnus-turned-instructor

“My nursing journey began when I started volunteering at the BC Cancer Agency. As a volunteer, I had the opportunity to interact with people going through very challenging life transitions. I developed a passion for helping people who were not only suffering from physical pain, but also the emotional struggle of living with a health challenge. I wanted to be a part of this experience as a health professional, as I witnessed nurses and doctors guiding people through various challenges and how satisfying it was to see these patients get better. This is when I pursued nursing education, specializing emergency nursing. While working as an emergency nurse, I then developed a passion for teaching, which led me to the path of becoming an instructor here at BCIT. As part of the BCIT family, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing educators who bring a rich pool of talent to the BSN program. I am proud to be a part of this team.” – Pawan Varaich, BCIT Emergency Specialty Nursing alumnus, BCIT Nursing Instructor, and ER Nurse at Surrey Memorial Hospital

A critical nurse’s COVID-19 silver lining

“I became a nurse, and specifically a critical care nurse so that I could have the best opportunity to help those needing acute care to get back to their lives and families. I love the fact that I’m always learning new skills, techniques, and about the rich lives of my patients. I love the fact that the efforts of myself and my colleagues is what can bring a light to the darkest days of a patient. COVID-19 has changed my day-to-day in dramatic and widespread ways, both positive and negative. My colleagues are closer together, both nurses and management, thinking and working out how to best provide care to our patients in these challenging times. I have learned a substantial amount of new skills to accompany the new responsibilities of critical care nurses. Specifically, the Hematology Apheresis Unit at the Royal Columbian Hospital has merged with the Intensive Care Unit, and I’ve now been trained to care for ventilated patients – something I never expected to become part of my repertoire. The most challenging change has been the limiting of family visits. It’s heartbreaking to have critically ill patients in the hospital with no chance for loved ones to visit. We’ve all taken it upon ourselves to use the technology at hand to work around this though. FaceTime and other video calling platforms has become a standard tool for us in providing the best care we can for our patients.”

“COVID-19 has been a true test of strength for both myself and healthcare as a whole, but it’s been a time of incredible growth. Personal growth of skills, responsibilities, and capabilities, but also growth of teams together. Some days are harder than others, but I know and understand how valuable the role I and my colleagues play, and I feel honoured to be able to stand where I am during this pandemic.” – Kayla DiBauda, BCIT Nursing alumna, Critical Nurse at Royal Columbian Hospital

SEE MORE: Newly launched BCIT COVID-19 course sees strong demand from healthcare workers in Canada and United States

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