Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Douglas College Nursing student launches career in neonatal care before graduation

David Denofreo photo

Caring for the tiniest and most vulnerable newborns is when Kalena Conners is in her element.

And the Douglas College Bachelor of Science in Nursing grad landed her dream job - as a neonatal nurse at B.C. Children and Women’s Health Centre - before she even received her credential.

“I have always known that working with infants was at the top of my list following graduation,” Conners said. “I love helping people. And working in the neonatal unit, you’re helping those who need it the most.”

Her passion for helping others led her to the Nursing program at Douglas College, which she chose because of the program’s stellar reputation among health-care employers.

Conners says receiving practical, hands-on training was essential in preparing her for the challenging, high-stress situations faced by nurses every day.

“Every instructor I had at Douglas College was very supportive and helped us with whatever we needed. They wanted nothing else but for us to succeed,” Conners said.

During her time at Douglas, Conners completed 400 hours of hospital work through her practicum, where she worked with a mentor, learned how to function with a full patient load and how to transition to self-directed learning.

Working long shifts in a busy hospital allowed her to apply the skills she learned in the classroom to real-life situations.

It also helped when she applied for a job at B.C. Children and Women’s Health Centre, where she was offered a position months before graduation.

Up next for Conners is expanding her knowledge in neonatal care with a master’s degree or training to become a nurse practitioner specializing in neonatal care.

“This is a path I plan to continue for a quite a long time,” she said.