Alumni Spotlight, People
Contributing to a better world
June 8, 2018
Alumna (Class of 2018)
Health and Social Development
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2018)
BA in Psychology (2014), UBC Okanagan
“I believe that small actions every day can create big impact in our communities.”
“I FELT LIKE IT’S JUST WHAT I AM MEANT TO DO,“ says Brandy Hagel of the decision to pursue nursing—a decision made long before she first stepped onto UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Describing it as a sense of familiarity, Hagel didn’t inherit her passion for nursing; instead, each time she found herself in a hospital setting, she felt conversant with the bustle of the patients and their caregivers.
The feeling strengthened in her first year of nursing, where for the first time she brought more than just her big heart through the admittance doors.
“For me, the most important part of nursing is to make someone’s day better.”
The self-described Okanagan Girl couldn’t imagine studying anywhere else.
“And that is saying something, because I am in my second degree, and sixth year on this campus,” she says.
Hagel attributes this to the sense of community found on the Okanagan campus. She says she’s never felt so close with her peers as in the School of Nursing. “Your nursing class becomes your family. We are always there for each other.”
Riding the ups and downs of high-stake exams and celebratory barbecues, the group bands together to ensure everyone succeeds. “I feel truly grateful for the friends I have made,” she says.
Hagel’s friendships extend beyond the walls of her classroom. Whether it is in the Peer Mentor Program or Global Nursing Citizens group, Brandy brings her all, dedicated to making life better for those around her.
Her volunteer work with the Kelowna Food Bank, Inn from the Cold, and the Special Olympics has built her a reputation as a community-minded young woman. For her, community is everything: “I believe that small actions every day can create big impact in our communities.”
Hagel’s faith was solidified in a life-changing experience with UBC’s Go Global exchange program.
As a third-year Psychology student, she travelled to Tanzania, Africa. The student and faculty group departed with the goal of researching techniques and styles of organic and traditional farming.
Hagel visited classrooms where children would bring rocks to sit on, and sometimes schools where HIV positive rooms were established.
“It truly made me take a step back and revaluate my own life.”
While she is reluctant to deem this her “ah-ha” moment, she felt inspired to make the situation better.
It was in these moments that her calling as a nurse was affirmed. It would be through nursing that she could satisfy her desire to contribute to a better world, and hone her passion for helping others.
Staying focused is a necessary part of Hagel’s dedication to her studies and extensive extracurricular activities. No stranger to a runner’s high, she credits the sport as a key ingredient in finding balance.
“The focus I get from my running resonates in every other aspect of my life: school, relationships, work.”
The distance runner has her eyes set on the Boston Marathon. In April, Hagel’s Vancouver Marathon time fell just 27 seconds short to qualify for Boston. But her positivity prevails as she continues to train, running the trails from Osoyoos to Kelowna.
She is evidently no stranger to hard work, and she looks forward to bringing her patients the enthusiasm that characterizes her life.
“I hope that every day I practice nursing I will come to love it even more.”
—by Allyssa Costerton-Grant