Friday, November 12, 2010

40 after 40: Hiruth Mwandemere


Ever since Hiruth Mwandemere was a little girl, she wanted to be a nurse. Growing up in Ethiopia, she witnessed many people – especially children – dying of preventable or curable illnesses, and wanted to help.

“Realizing that a healthy person is a happy person, I promised myself to contribute to wellness and happiness by becoming a nurse,” Hiruth says.

But after completing secondary school, due to family and financial needs, Hiruth wound up working in the hotel industry. Then in 1991 she left Ethiopia for Rome to join her husband, who was working for the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Like Ethiopia, Italy did not provide a conducive environment for Hiruth to study nursing.

In 2005 Hiruth and her family immigrated to Canada and she was finally able to realize her dream. The following year she enrolled in the Douglas College Health Care Support Worker program, and graduated in 2007.


Since graduating, Hiruth has worked for the Providence Health Care/Holy Family Hospital as a resident care aide, with St. James Society/Victory House as an assisted living worker, and with Vancouver Coastal Health/Magnolia House as a mental health worker.

Now Hiruth is back at Douglas College to pursue studies in Psychiatric Nursing. She says the program offers an opportunity to get involved in a career that extends comfort and hope to people.

“What impresses me most about Douglas College is the support that facilitated my transition from the Health Care Support Worker program to that of PNUR,” she says. “The supportive environment of the College has enabled me to overcome the challenges of upgrading academic courses while juggling work, school and family.”

40 after 40 is a series showcasing our amazing grads and employees in celebration of our 40th anniversary. Check back every Wednesday and Friday for another inspiring story. See more about our 40th on our Anniversary page.