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College’s trailblazing nursing students impressed with course

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The first students who enrolled in an associate degree programme at Bermuda College with the aim of becoming registered nurses are set to graduate.

The six have returned from clinical training at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and have spoken highly of the two-year associate degree course, which was launched in 2012 as a joint effort between the college and the Bermuda Hospitals Board.

There has been strong interest in the course, with 11 students currently enrolled and more than 200 others making inquiries. Since its inception an additional 90 students have set out to complete prerequisite courses for the Associate Degree of Science (Nursing) Programme.

“Students obtain clinical experiences locally and also have overseas clinical opportunities for clinical observations at Sick Kids in Toronto and Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia,” said Bermuda College director of communications Evelyn James Barnett.

The programme is headed by director Kathy-Ann Swan, with full-time lecturer Renee Faulcon and two adjunct clinical instructors.

The students set to graduate have set their sights on a wide-ranging set of careers.

Waleed Lightbourne, 31, a second year student, has a keen interest in critical care nursing. Influenced by his mother, a nurses' aide, he worked for six years as a medic in the Bermuda Regiment.

He was in the Hampton University Programme in early 2000 and was accepted into two schools abroad but did not have the money to go. He opted for six years in the Bermuda Regiment as a medic instead to continue training for a medical career on island.

Asked what it's like to be the only male training to become a registered nurse he said: “It's definitely a different atmosphere.”

“I get to find out how women interact. I really enjoy it.”

And he called on other young males “not to think all male nurses are a certain way”.

“You could go into community health, you could deal with the elderly; it depends on your nature. If you're a caring person, or a caring male figure, don't be afraid to actually go and see what it's like. You may just enjoy it.”

But he said: “I would just say apply, see how you take it and just go for it.”

For those who feel there is nothing going on at Bermuda College for them he said: “Look into the school first.”

Mature student Caro Peterson took a job at the hospital to work with the elderly and decided that was the career path for her.

“It's a struggle but all I could say is if you stick to the wicket the runs will come. My children encourage me and I'm trying to make it better for them,” she said.

“I always liked working with the elderly, I think that they are somewhat forgotten sometimes and I always related to them.

“I like making them feel special, like combing their hair and doing up their nails. And so it brings me joy that they're happy. It's important.

“If you're passionate about it and you care about people, don't listen to what people have to say, just go out and do it. Follow your own path.”

DaShunté Furbert, 24, is leaning more toward a career in “neonatal and paediatric, or labour and delivery areas”.

She said: “As the eldest I observed my mom's pregnancies and I was always fascinated with the development of the foetus to the newborn.

“I actually have a goddaughter who was born two months early and it was amazing to see her development. At nine months now you would never know, so it's a great thing to observe.

“It's definitely an amazing feeling to know that you're a part of the first group who took the initiative to be locally trained.

“I would just say go for it and don't let anything sway you from your dreams.”

She started out with plans to become a doctor but was forced to rethink her plans due to financial challenges.

“I may still become a MD but I'm working on the nursing first,” she said.

Joesphine Bean, 29, said her passion has always been with working with the elderly. But she didn't realise that until after she started pursuing a degree in business.

“It's important to do something that you love, not in regards to money.

“Taking care of someone and giving back is a very important part of doing what it is that you love to do,” she said.

As it turns out her first patient was a war veteran.

“We built such a great relationship just from hearing about the past and the wisdom.”

With Bermuda's ageing population she encouraged others to consider a career in healthcare to deal with “seniors getting older and living with chronic illnesses”.

Nadine Blake, 33, plans to become a paediatric nurse or a circulating nurse in the operating room.

For her, the performing in the operating room was “almost like a symphony” from the “initiation of getting the operating room ready to when they finally have the patient”.

“I found that very soothing, most people wouldn't. For most people it looks very disturbing seeing someone sliced into.

“If you don't have the stomach or just have the passion of wanting to do this you probably will just either faint or be discouraged,” said Ms Blake.

“Having a surgery is having someone take care of something that you yourself cannot.

“Just having that intervention by someone else that's going to enable you to have a better outcome is very awesome.

“I know most are thinking this girl is probably morbid but I love that aspect of being in the operating room.”

Selena Swan was influenced by her grandmother and her aunt in choosing her career. She plans to work with the mentally ill.

She said her mantra is “failure is not an option”, especially with two children, one in university and one in college.

“It has motivated me to get something for myself,” she said.

“It lets them see that you don't have to stop at one place — you can keep striving on.

“Your children can look up to you and say ‘although my mom had adversities she was still able to move on to another level'.

“It's not about the money; it's about what you love, and I love helping people.

“To see them accomplish things from the tiny little tasks to the very enormous tasks — you look back and say ‘look where they've come from'.”

Bermuda College Nursing Programme students: Front left to right are Nadine Blake, Josephine Bean, Selena Swan. Back, left to right, are Waleed Lightbourne, DaShunte Furbert and Caro Peterson.
Bermuda College Nursing Programme: DaShunte Furbert.
Bermuda College Nursing Programme: Selena Swan. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Bermuda College Nursing Programme: Nadine Blake.(Photo by Akil Simmons)
Bermuda College Nursing Programme: Waleed Lightbourne. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Bermuda College Nursing Programme: Josephine Bean. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Bermuda College Nursing Programme: Caro Peterson.

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Published November 13, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 13, 2013 at 8:17 am)

College’s trailblazing nursing students impressed with course

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