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Students discuss career options with a professional at a career fair booth.

Showcase highlights opportunities for senior nursing students

February 8, 2024 — 

The College of Nursing held a showcase with Manitoba health-care employers for fourth-year students entering their senior practicum on Jan. 26 at the Pinnacle Club at Princess Auto Stadium.

Twenty Manitoba agencies, sites and health regions in Manitoba participated, sharing current information with students and answering questions to help nursing students decide where to go for their senior practicum placements.

The event was funded by Shared Health and planned by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Shared Health and the College of Nursing.

“We discussed this a few years ago, but then COVID hit. So this is our first event targeted at students going into senior practicum, and we’re thrilled with the participation,” said Donalda Wotton, instructor at the College of Nursing and one of the event’s organizers.

Wotton said that about 90 per cent of graduating students are hired on the unit where they completed their senior practicum. 

“The goal is good learning for students as well as continuing to build partnerships with the health care system.  We also wanted to highlight opportunities outside of Winnipeg that need nurses,” she said.

The participating sites included regional health authorities, hospitals and health centres from Winnipeg and across Manitoba, the federal government’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Office of Rural and Remote Learner Experiences and Ongomiizwin – Health Services.

Over 130 College of Nursing students and 12 students from St. Boniface University’s nursing program attended. They not only got to speak to representatives from the various sites, but also had an opportunity to learn from six recent alumni, who were invited to share their senior practicum experiences.

Kirsten Balness (R), Class of 2023, was one of six recent alumni brought in to share their senior practicum experiences.

Faith Obsoda, who graduated in October 2023, was one of the invited guests. She currently works in the labour and delivery unit at St. Boniface General Hospital, where she did her senior practicum. “Obviously, I loved it because I stayed there.”

Obsoda said she jumped at the chance to take part in the event because she knew how valuable it would be for current students.

“You’re leaping into the unknown when you go into your senior practicum, so having something like this, where you can learn from someone in the area that you’re interested in, is amazing. I wish we had something like this for my class.”

Liselle Visda, also from the Class of 2023, said there is a lot of pressure on students to choose where they’d like to take their senior practicum.

“A lot of students think that where they’ll take their practicum is where they’ll work for the rest of their life. I want them to understand that they might not get their first choice, but that’s OK. I’m telling them today to go in with an open mind – you might be surprised where it will take you,” Visda said.

Visda currently works at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at HSC Winnipeg Women’s Hospital. This was also where she took her practicum.

“At first it wasn’t what I wanted, but it turned out working in my favour. NICU has so much of what attracted me to nursing in the first place – therapeutic relationships with families and building connections. I love watching babies grow and be healthy.”

Fourth-year student Jannah Hernandez said the event gave her a lot of information that will help her decide on where she would like to take her practicum.

“I want to go into intensive care, but I need a background in something else with high intensity. Some people I spoke to today suggested I should take high observation, medical surgery or emergency as my practicum to help with that transition, rather than jumping right into the deep end,” she said.

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