Faces of FHSD: Jackie Girard

Our faculty is proud to be home to the School of Nursing, School of Health and Exercise Sciences, and School of Social Work, where our students are the most important part of what we do.

Meet Jackie Girard—Nursing student, peer note-taker, President of the Nursing Course Union, and dedicated volunteer.  She took time out of her busy schedule to tell us about life as a UBC student, globetrotter, and amateur cat photographer.

FHSD: What was the last picture you took on your phone? Jackie

GIRARD: A photo of a cat at the SPCA where I volunteer 2-4 times a week. He and the rest of his litter had been dropped off in the middle of the night. They spent the rest of the night in the cold until the first volunteer started her shift in the morning. To be honest, the past few photos on my phone have been of the cats… As a cat lover I have a lot of fun at the SPCA, but I also know how crucial it is for animals to make healthy bonds with people and learn to trust in good people.

What is your favourite place to study or work at UBC Okanagan?
Throughout my nursing degree here at UBCO I have tried different study spots including the Library, Arts Atrium, and Fipke. Now with my busy schedule it is just easier to study at home rather than get ready to go out and lug my books and computer around. However, from time to time I’ll head over to a friend's house to study as a group and work on projects. It always a good time and we get our work done.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in nursing?
Growing up, I wanted to be so many different things from archaeologist, to architect, to forensic pathologist, to surgeon. As I grew older and school opened up new avenues of study I began to realize what I was really interested in. When I was in grade 9, a family friend passed from brain cancer. We helped her family throughout the disease process, and took care of her sometimes while her mom had to work to afford cancer treatments as well as support her other children. We visited our family friend at Sick Kids, and I remember thinking how difficult it would be to work there. After she passed I wondered how I could make a difference, and support all those families and children with the disease. When it came to applying for university I realized nursing was what I wanted to do, and that I was going to specialize in pediatric oncology. In my third year here at UBCO I spent a month on a pediatrics floor and it only reinforced my ambitions.

Name the next item on your bucket list you are going to cross off?
I am so very excited to be travelling to Zambia, Africa next term to complete my final nursing practicum. Coming into this program I knew UBCO offered this amazing opportunity and I worked hard to ensure I would be eligible to go. I will be travelling with one of my best friends who I met in first year, and we hope to travel around Europe afterwards. Seeing the world has always been a dream of mine, and through this opportunity I will not only see it, but actively participate in new culture, traditions, and nursing practice. It will be a wonderful end to my 4 years of nursing here at UBCO.

What do you know now, that you didn’t when started your degree at UBC Okanagan?
I know that life is challenging. Moving across the country for school has tested me both physically and mentally. I am a very family oriented person so the transition was very difficult for me. Looking back at life before university, my family was one of the biggest things I took for granted. Sure, I knew how lucky I was to have an amazing family but, when I came out here and was left all by myself it really hit me. Being away from home really pushed me to get involved, open up to others, and make strong and lasting friendships. I have made some amazing friends (my best friends) here at UBCO and I am sure these friendships will last a lifetime.
I have also learned that if you really want something you have to work hard, and that it's not always about competing with others but, competing against your best self. I keep myself pretty busy as a nursing lab TA, a peer note taker, a sales associate at the mall, president of the Nursing Course Union, heading up Grad committee, an active volunteer in the community, a member of the Kelowna Concert Band, as well as being recognized for academic achievement.

Who do you nominate for the next Faces of FHSD?
Matthew Hoogveld, 5th year Human Kinetics

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