From nursing to teaching, BCIT alumna and instructor finds a second home in the classroom

In recognition of National Nursing Week, we’re shining a light on Nav Padda (née Kalkat) BCIT Nursing alumna and instructor at the BCIT School of Health Sciences. Nav shares her unique story—her career journey, personal hardships, and how she found a new passion in the classroom.    

Nav was forced to grow up fast. At the young age of 15, Nav and her sisters, ages 16 and 9 at the time, witnessed their father’s passing in an intensive care unit.

“We were frequently in the hospital those final months,” recalls Nav. “I remember seeing how the nurses, physicians, and pharmacists were all involved and how they took care of my dad.”

All three sisters, including Nav, pursued healthcare professions. Today, Nav is a perinatal nurse at Surrey Memorial Hospital and a faculty member at the BCIT School of Health Sciences.

Finding a passion in specialty nursing

Even though Nav recalls wanting to be a nurse since Grade 10, she recounts that finding the right path was hard at first.

“I always knew I wanted to become a nurse and was set on working with the elderly population,” says Nav. “However, I soon realized that it wasn’t the right fit for me and even thought about switching paths.”

But after a phone conversation with her mom, Nav felt inclined to give nursing another try. By the end of that year, Nav was introduced to perinatal nursing and knew she had found her calling. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nav soon applied for and completed the BCIT Perinatal Specialty Nursing program back in 2018, which was highly recommended by her peers.

Today, she is a seasoned professional. With over seven years of on-site nursing experience and a Master of Science in Nursing (2020), Nav looks forward to teaching the next generation of perinatal nurses in BC.

Nav credits her success to BCIT and its strong hands-on learning approach and mentorship, which helped her launch a career at Surrey Memorial Hospital and now at BCIT. To date, she’s the youngest faculty member teaching Specialty Nursing at the BCIT School of Health Sciences and is a mentor to current and future nurses.

Learn more about specialty nursing programs at BCIT.

Nav Padda (née Kalkat) BCIT Nursing alumna and instructor at the BCIT School of Health Sciences.
Nav Padda, BCIT Nursing alumna, UBC Master of Science in Nursing graduate, and current instructor at the BCIT School of Health Sciences.

Sharing her knowledge with a new generation

Nav’s passion for perinatal nursing has evolved in the past seven years. As she continues to provide care in the hospital, she’s most excited to be teaching a new generation of learners.

“I’ve really found a passion in teaching, especially getting to update curriculums that are centered on excellence—both in practice and teaching,” shares Nav. “Our team is constantly working to better our programs and deliver the most up-to-date information for our students.”

Coming full circle

Nav shares that one of the most rewarding aspects of her career is seeing students become new nurses and provide mentorship to others—especially because she knows the incredible impact mentors have had in her own life.

One such mentor was the Cmolik Foundation, which had supported Nav since she was in high school. A longtime donor supporting BCIT students through awards and the INSPIRE Campaign, the Cmolik Foundation was created with the aim of providing opportunities for youth who have experienced adversity in their lives. As a recipient of a Cmolik scholarship back in 2011, Nav credits the Cmolik team for helping her navigate and excel in her studies.

“I always knew I had a mentor at the Cmolik Foundation and their support eased the pressures—mentally and financially—as I pursued my passion,” shares Nav.

Learn more about the BCIT INSPIRE Campaign.

The key to success

For incoming nurses or those considering teaching, Nav offers this advice: “In the beginning you may face imposter syndrome. One piece of advice from my past BCIT instructor and now mentor, Farah Jetha, which has helped me, is to believe in yourself. She reminded me that while experience is important, your natural ability to provide care and teach are just as critical to becoming a nurse and instructor. Farah really encouraged me to recognize my strengths and pursue new opportunities, like teaching, and it’s her advice that I would share with new learners.”

Learn more about the BCIT School or Health Sciences and Specialty Nursing programs here.


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