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Kerry Norman finds promising opportunities through bachelor of nursing work placement

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Sep 23, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton

Kerry Norman wanted a career change, pivoting from environmental geoscience into nursing. After considering her options for accelerated bachelor of nursing programs, she chose UNB to follow her passion for helping others.

“I was working for an engineering firm in Edmonton, but I wasn’t fulfilled,” Norman said. “I was inspired to enter nursing after being exposed to the work health-care professionals do around safe injection sites for substance users.”

The two-year bachelor of nursing accelerated program at the Moncton site appealed to Norman for two reasons: she could re-enter the workforce quickly with valuable field experience. The accelerated nursing program is open to those with at least 46 credit hours of university experience.

“Nursing clinical placements are some of the finest examples of experiential learning at UNB,” said Dr. Sarah King, director of experiential education at UNB. “Giving students meaningful experiences helps them develop as professionals and creates a generation of caring, compassionate, community-oriented nurses.”

In her first year, Norman has had three workplace placements across the Moncton area. These have included a rural placement at Sackville Memorial Hospital, the inpatient psychiatric unit and maternity unit at Moncton City Hospital and a placement with Ensemble Moncton. She spent last summer at a Tim Horton's camp for kids.

Ensemble Moncton provides many community-based health-care services, including harm reduction services such as a drug overdose prevention site. It allows people who use substances to inject uncontrolled substance(s) safely with trained staff supervision so that rapid intervention can be provided in the event of accidental overdose. Support and resources to seek counselling and drug rehabilitation are available onsite.

Norman explains why safe injection sites are essential.

“We can test the substances to check if it is laced with fentanyl, which is a leading cause of overdoses. We keep naloxone (a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose) onsite in the event of a medical emergency and provide naloxone kits for clients to take away.”

Working at Ensemble is rewarding, but it comes with challenges. Norman sees people in distress, and she hears all their concerns. Ensemble provides a temporary haven and a beacon of hope for those seeking a stable life and offers a unique training opportunity in the health-care system for students like Kerry.

Norman’s clinical instructor, Carolyn Baxter, teaches within the Community and Population Health Nursing course and supports learners in their community placements.

“Most nursing students end up working in the hospital or acute care system,” Baxter explained. “Ensemble gives our students a perspective of primary care outside the hospital. They get to see where patients come from and what situations they go home to. Ensemble provides a glimpse into preventative care and how we, as a society, can do more to keep people out of the hospital.”

As for Norman’s future in nursing, she is open to whatever opportunities come her way in New Brunswick or elsewhere in Canada.

About UNB Health Experiential Opportunities

The University of New Brunswick is committed to helping students find careers in the health sector through meaningful and impactful experiential learning opportunities. With support from the Business Higher Education Roundtable and the Province of New Brunswick, over 180 nursing students completed clinical opportunities in rural and remote parts of New Brunswick in 2021-22.