Heather Fischer has always wanted to be a nurse. Inspired by her daughter’s pediatric intensive care unit nurse – who she got to know during her daughter’s scoliosis surgery – the mother of two first earned her associate’s degree and surgical technician certification and has been working in the operating room at a local hospital for the past five years.
“I looked around at the nurses I worked with and the ones who are the most knowledgeable and the best at what they do have graduated from West Coast University during the past 10 years,” Fischer shared.
Last year, Fischer decided to take the leap and enroll at West Coast University-Ontario.
“I asked my nursing colleagues what school they recommend and they all said, ‘Definitely go to WCU,’ and now I’m in my third term,” she said.
Balancing being a mom to a 15-year-old and 12-year-old, working part-time and attending class full-time over the past year during the pandemic has not been easy.
“I have a set plan for every day, and I give myself a little wiggle room to make sure I have that time to get everything completed and spend time with my daughters,” Fischer said.
She shared that her daughters see her studying and sometimes join her virtual lessons to learn too. Now Fischer’s oldest daughter wants to become a surgeon when she gets older.
But the biggest challenge for the self-described extrovert over the past year has been the shift to online learning, specifically having her study group online.
“I love having study groups in person, but we figured out a schedule and what was expected for us, and we had to be flexible and adapt quickly,” Fischer said, also adding that the online videos have been helping her retain information throughout her fast-paced courses.
Over the past year, Fischer’s love of nursing became even more focused as she got to experience hands-on care with patients and their families outside of the OR during the pandemic.
“When COVID-19 numbers spiked, I was put on a neurotrauma COVID unit and I got to be a part of the nursing team in the role of a certified nursing assistant (CNA), and the amount of care that you give on the floor is incredible,” Fischer said. “There are so many things you do on the floor as a nurse and your decisions can impact care.”
As Fischer continues her coursework at WCU, she shared that her biggest advice is to get involved in the online chats, ask questions and find people who have similar interests that you connect with to support each other.
“Make sure you have a plan, make sure you’re motivated, make sure you have a support group and reach out to people you know in the nursing field for advice,” Fischer said. “It really helps.”
WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.