WCU-Ontario graduate Edmund Alfonso has a passion for people.
Throughout his life, Alfonso always wanted to find a profession where he could help others. In high school, he was given a test to help him figure out which career would be right for him. At the top of the list was nursing.
“I got a lot of encouragement all the way through from my family. It really just helped me get a boost into getting my BSN,” he said.
Once in school, Alfonso used his clinical rotations as a way to find which field he felt most comfortable in. He found that comfort in mental health. Being able to work with patients who needed the most personal care gave him a thrill and sparked his curiosity.
“It was a very unique perspective that you don't get to see often and unfortunately there is a big stigma on individuals who are mentally ill,” he said. “What I’ve found is that they're not just people with schizophrenia or depression; they're somebody who's sick, who needs our help.”
At every point throughout his career, Alfonso felt prepared and ready to take on whatever task is given to him. That skill he attributes to WCU.
“West Coast University really prepared me for the professional life, specifically how to be a productive and powerful leader,” he said. “Being a leader means getting everybody together with a positive attitude and a positive mindset to meet a goal that we all set together. That's something that they tell you and instill in you at West Coast early on.”
After being in the workforce as a mental health nurse for a few years, Alfonso felt called to become a professor. So when looking for a teaching job, Alfonso chose to come back to West Coast University.
During his time as a student at WCU, Alfonso was inspired by his professors. Now as an instructor himself, he strives to motivate and inspire students like his instructors encouraged him.
“As instructors, all we think about is how can we benefit the students more. And that's kind of the side that I feel a lot of students don't see, that there's so much being done with student-centricity in mind,” he said. “Just know that you're in good hands when you come here. There's so much focus and attention for you and we just want you to be successful and we're here to answer any questions at any time.”
Although nursing is a challenging program, Alfonso believes that if students truly want to make a difference in someone’s life, nursing is worth the work.
“If (helping people) is truly what you want to do, [nursing] is one of the best avenues to reach it by,” he said. “And when you finish, I guarantee you're going to find yourselves amongst people and professionals that are just as proud and focused and just as in love with the profession as you are.”