Alumni Spotlight, People
Nursing student’s travels reinforce how health connects us all
May 9, 2023
Health and Social Development
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
“Whether it’s having fantastic nursing classmates, professors or staff, everyone I’ve encountered has provided valuable encouragement and direction as I navigate my future career plans.”
Kyla Christianson graduated from UBC Okanagan’s nursing program with few regrets—she didn’t have time for them.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree alongside accomplishments and awards. In addition to her academics, she was part of the Non-Academic Misconduct Committee (NAM), the Emergency First Response Team, the Senate and the nursing course union.
It was one reason she became UBCO’s first recipient of a prestigious McCall MacBain Scholarship to McGill University in Montreal. She earned a full scholarship to pursue a Master of Science in Advanced Nursing with a Global Health concentration. Applicants from over 1,200 universities across the globe competed for 10 scholarships for international students and 20 scholarships for Canadian students.
Upon graduation, Christianson reflected on her time at UBCO.
Why did you enter nursing?
Looking back, I can identify specific experiences which led me to a career in health care. These included spending time with my grandmother, who had dementia, living abroad and volunteering in the Emergency Department and cancer clinic. I love nursing and health care because of my passion for science and the opportunity to care for and connect with others.
How did UBCO enable you to accomplish your academic, career and personal goals?
I still remember attending Create orientation and the EXPO volunteer fair in my first year on campus, where I found many opportunities to be involved. I’ve had many diverse jobs and volunteer opportunities at UBCO that have complimented my nursing education, allowed me to be a part of the campus community and challenged me. These include working as a research assistant, teaching assistant, residence advisor, peer mentor, and destination leader and serving on the Nursing Course Union, the NAM committee and the Senate.
Aside from opportunities, it has also been people that have helped me thrive. Whether having fantastic nursing classmates, professors or staff, everyone I’ve encountered has provided valuable encouragement and direction as I navigate my future career plans.
Why did you join UBCO’s Emergency First Response Team? What was most satisfying about this work?
I wanted the opportunity to use my first-aid skills and be a part of a great community to serve people on campus. The most satisfying part of this work is the friendships that have come from my involvement on the team and the opportunity to grow my leadership and clinical skills.
Why were you involved in student governance?
I’m always willing to get involved. These roles helped me gain valuable leadership skills, build community, advocate, and serve others.
Why should students volunteer?
Students should get involved in areas they are genuinely passionate about and try new things. Volunteering allows you to develop your skills, relate to others, get to know your interests, build great friendships, give back and feel a part of the campus community.
What will you miss about UBCO?
When I first came to UBCO, I remember everything being new and different. Since completing my degree, I’ve missed the UBCO community—the classmates, friends and professors I have worked with. I also miss the familiarity of campus. When I walk through campus, I fondly remember the many labs I had, the residences where I worked, volleyball intramurals in the gym and late-night studying with my friends.