I recently completed my second year of nursing studies at GPRC and the journey has been filled with learning opportunities, hands-on experiences in different clinical settings (including long-term care, public health and maternity and pediatrics), stresses and times where I questioned myself, “why am I doing this?”
Being a student in my 40’s with the majority of classmates who are half of my age makes me think sometimes, “is this the right place for me?” I remember one of our instructors last year mentioned that when you reach over 35 years of age, 100,000 brain cells die every day; no wonder sometimes I feel nothing is going into my brain. 😊
Being a male nursing student where nursing is still considered as a female-dominated profession, my experience has been wonderful so far with very little not-so-wonderful moments. When I was in a long-term care clinical setting, patients and staff at the facility were happy to see a male nursing student as some of the patients needed physically demanding care. Whereas in my maternity clinical settings, many female patients were not comfortable with a male nurse. There are some moments where I missed some learning opportunities in the maternity clinical setting just because I am a male student. It is very interesting because many of the same patients would not be uncomfortable if the doctor was a male. I hope the stigma behind male nurses changes over time because, at the end of the day, nurses are here to help, no matter their gender. I am excited to be a part of that change and to be a male nurse. Even with these challenges, I know that I have chosen the right career path for me!
Submitted by GPRC Nursing student and Student Ambassador, Ram Neupane.
During my post-secondary journey, I had the opportunity to complete the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course, which is offered through the Pace Centre here in Grande Prairie. In the last five years depression and psychological disorder rates for young people have increased substantially. With this increase comes the need for an increase in awareness about the signs and symptoms related to mental health illnesses and diseases. Mental health illness and disease can affect anyone, mental health disorders impact people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. Unfortunately, many people suffering from the symptoms feel afraid or ashamed to discuss their situation because they feel that society labels those suffering mental health as being unfit or incapable. The stigma surrounding mental health prevents individuals from seeking a professional or even reaching out to others for help. As a community, raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of mental health illness and disease is crucial. Mental Health First Aid provided me a better understanding of how to communicate with someone demonstrating the signs and symptoms. Raising awareness on mental health disorders within the community will create a supporting, positive environment for everyone and will potentially save lives. The crippling stigma attached to mental health is a concern we all, as a community, need to work together to address in order to allow these individuals to receive the help they need.
The five basic actions of MHFA are:
Assess the risk of suicide and/or harm
Give reassurance and information
Encourage person to seek appropriate medical/professional help
Encourage other supports- friends, family, support groups, etc.
This course allowed me to feel more confident in my abilities to assist someone struggling with mental health. On a daily basis, I intend on being more aware of those around me, a simple conversation can change someone’s life. For more information on the MHFA course, you can contact Pace or talk to the Continuing Education staff at GPRC, or the staff involved with Peer Counselling at GPRC.
Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Natasha Getz.
It is almost that time of year! The time that students everywhere look forward to… Reading Week!
I have been attending GPRC for the past four years. The first two years, I was taking just a class or two, but the past two years I have been a full-time student. As a student I have very mixed feelings about Reading Week. It’s hard to not love the break, but truth be told, I have a really hard time getting back into the swing of things after Reading Week ends. With that in mind, if anyone else feels the same struggles as I do, I have compiled a list of a few tips to help you with managing and staying on track during your Reading Week.
Take the time at the beginning of the Reading Week break to make a list of what you want to accomplish over the week. Make a list, and plan the things that you want to do with your time.
Get some rest during the week.
Our brains are so tired, we really do need some sleep. Treat yourself to some early bedtimes.
During your week off give yourself some time to plan out your next two months of school. Make a schedule using your course outlines as a guide to what is coming up. There is going to be a lot to do, but with a plan in place, you are laying out the ground work for success.
Use some of Reading Week to get caught up. Whether that means doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning your house, or maybe making some meals for the week ahead.
Plan some “you-time”. For myself, this means catching up on texts and phone calls, doing some Netflix binging, and taking my dog, Richelieu (shown in picture), for some good walks. Whatever it is, do things that make you feel good, things that have been weighing on your mind when you are busy with school.
Don’t stop doing school work for the whole week. This is a big one. It is so hard to get back at it once you have completely stopped. I give myself a few days totally off, but then I start slowly getting back into the school routine.
Use the weekend before school starts as a regular weekend. Meaning, use your weekend as you normally would during the school year.
For me, that means coming to the college to study for a few hours, especially on Saturday, because that is what I do most weekends.
It definitely would be easy to take the whole week off, and I have done that… but the fact is, I’m way more successful at handling the after break blues when I follow these tips.
Have a great Reading Week everyone!
Submitted by Jessica Fontaine Gwin, Student Ambassador
For the past five years I have been a coach at Grande Prairie Gymnastics, and coaching competitive for the past year and a half. The greatest challenge I’ve faced during my career as a coach is preparing my athletes for future skills and taking them to higher levels. Bringing an athlete from competing basic skills to turning over their first double flip is intimidating for both them and myself as a coach. Concerned for their safety as well as their success, I strive to take every precaution possible.
During my time here at GPRC studying Computer Science, I’ve come to embrace the technique known as Divide and Conquer. This is the process of taking one large problem and breaking it down into numerous smaller problems, solving them individually. As a result, the solving of all the small problems, lead to solving the large problem. This technique can easily be applied into everyday life. As a coach I’ve used it to prepare my athletes for large intimidating skills by breaking the large skill down into a series of small and simple tasks, each focusing on a small aspect of the skill. After a few weeks of working on these progressions the athletes feel both mentally and physically prepared to take on the large skill, which doesn’t seem all to large anymore.
This technique isn’t exclusive to Computer Science nor to coaching gymnastics. It can easily be used in many other situations.
Have to write a paper for English? Break the paper down into it’s components: thesis, conclusion, introduction, and body paragraphs. Writing a paragraph is less intimidating than writing an entire paper.
The Divide and Conquer technique can easily be implemented into every day life and is a powerful technique for productivity.
When I was younger my teacher asked the question “what are you going to be when you grow up?”
At that age I daydreamed about being something amazing- a hero, a firefighter, a nurse, a dentist, a farmer, anything really. My imagination ran wild with ideas of who I was to become when I grew up. As I proceeded through life this question became harder and harder to answer. Do we ever really know what we want to be when we grow up?
I will admit I have changed my career goals multiple times as an adult. My original plan was to become an accountant. I was enrolled in the Business Diploma program at GPRC to test the waters only to find out that business and accounting were not my passion. I ended up withdrawing from the program in the second year. My life was stressful and chaotic. I felt like I ruined my life and I would never be able to be something great. I was depressed and felt alone. I couldn’t turn to my family for help because no one understood my daily struggle. I needed some soul searching. I went on a back-packing trip around Australia with a girlfriend; travelling was the best thing for me. I gained a new appreciation for myself because I was finally listening to that little voice inside. I was able to digest my life decision of quitting school. I realized my life wasn’t over and it was okay.
I returned to school a few years after to become a Registered Dental Assistant. At first I didn’t have much of an interest in dentistry. A close friend of mine recommended the program because I could get a job anywhere in the world. I have been an assistant now for six years. I absolutely love the field I am in. I am truly passionate about helping others and I value educating people about their dental needs. I have reached a point in my career where I am ready for change. I need something more. I decided to return to school once again to become a Dental Hygienist.
I am returning to school as a mature student. I feel like I am faced with new challenges as I struggle to find balance with every aspect in my life. I am thankful for having a supportive group of friends and a wonderful, caring boyfriend who help me live my dream. My biggest advice for students of any age is to listen to your body and not stress the little things. Take time for yourself and spend time with people who make you happy. Learn good study habits and never be afraid to ask for help. When you are stressing over studying and completing assignments remember you are not alone and you are allowed to let loose. Tell yourself to smile everyday, it really does make a difference in your mood. Try to engage in conversation with someone new. Take pride in being a student. We are in this together.
Submitted by GPRC Student Ambassador, Natasha Getz.