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Three nursing school graduates reflect on their experience in UNB programs

Author: Kathleen McLaughlin

Posted on May 11, 2023

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

Nursing isn't just a job; it's a calling and passion, led by dedicated people who work tirelessly to heal the sick and comfort the hurting.

From community based primary health care to the emergency room and intensive care unit, nurses are the unsung heroes and backbone of the healthcare system. Although nursing is a demanding profession, those called to it find great satisfaction in making a difference in people’s lives.

In recognition of National Nursing Week, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) is taking time to acknowledge and celebrate alumni who graduated as registered nurses (RNs) by exploring the powerful passion that fuels the world of nursing.

Emily Field, Tishla Cruickshank and Avery Hughson are all UNB alumni and RNs, and are each pursuing nursing careers in their own unique fashion.

Field completed the LPN bridge program in 2020 and graduated with a bachelor of nursing (BN) in 2022. She is now a surgical nurse in Amherst, Nova Scotia, at the Cumberland Regional Hospital.

“My mom was a nurse and I always looked up to her,” said Field. “Watching her help others inspired me to do the same and I now have a job that I find meaningful because of her.

“I really enjoy making relationships with my patients and making them feel like they're not a sick person and that they're still a human,” added Field. “A nice nurse makes an entire hospital experience better because anyone who's there is already in a vulnerable position and we are there for support.”

Like Field, Cruickshank understands the importance of supporting people in vulnerable situations. Since completing the LPN bridge program in 2013 and graduating with her BN in 2016, Cruickshank has worked as a travelling nurse and is currently helping an isolated Indigenous community in Northern Manitoba.

“I’m Indigenous, and want to give back to my own Nation,” said Cruickshank. “You hear about these isolated communities that are fly-in-only access, don't have running water and have very poor food quality and variety. As a nurse, I believe I can help to improve the health of Indigenous People living in these underserved communities.

“I advanced from a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to RN for the advanced knowledge and autonomy which now allows me to advocate more for my patients and provide healthcare in an advanced scope of practice,” added Cruickshank. “As someone who has a family and already worked full time, the bridge program helped me achieve my nursing degree in less time and I didn't have to start from the beginning.”

Hughson completed the LPN-BN nursing pathway and will be graduating with his BN at the 2023 spring graduation ceremonies from May 17 to 19. After graduation, he will move from the surgery unit to intensive care at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton.

“I think my favourite part of the program was expanding my knowledge base and being able to further connect the dots between symptoms and what we can expect to see,” said Hughson. “I would definitely recommend this program to other LPNs who want to learn more in-depth about the medical field and expand on their already strong knowledge base.”

The LPN-BN nursing pathway on the Fredericton campus and the LPN bridge program on the Saint John campus are two unique programs offered at UNB that help working LPNs from New Brunswick become RNs.

Combining classroom learning and clinical experience, both programs are designed to recognize both experience and education while addressing the knowledge and differences between LPNs and RNs.

To learn more about both programs, individuals can contact UNB admissions and talk to a recruiter.