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From student to teacher: a diverse nursing career

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Terri Schell

Terri Schell graduated in 2008 from Assiniboine Community College’s Practical Nursing program armed with the skills and knowledge to begin her career in the health care industry.

When Terri enrolled in Assiniboine’s Practical Nursing program in 2007, she knew it was going to be a challenge, especially with an eight-month-old son. However, her desire to create a better life for her family made becoming a nurse an easy decision.

Terri was no stranger to the health care industry, having worked in a pharmacy during her teenage years and then as an non-certified health care aide during her studies. Terri’s experience while at college sculpted her career in a way she didn’t expect.

I enjoyed Assiniboine; the instructors were awesome. The teaching was straightforward, way more hands-on and the courses applied to actual nursing.

In fact, she had such a positive experience that she now juggles teaching various distance courses at Assiniboine while working full-time as a nurse.

“I work Monday to Friday as a nurse and then teach three courses in the distance Comprehensive Health Care Aide (CHCA) program, mostly in the evenings and on weekends.”

Terri began her nursing career at Minnedosa Hospital, 40 minutes North of Brandon.

“The Minnedosa Hospital has an ER and a variance of patient acuity. I was able to see the different sides of nursing. I had done my senior practicum on surgery, so I applied for a term that brought me back to Brandon Hospital.”

Terri continued to apply her keen enthusiasm for learning and increasing her nursing skills at the Brandon Hospital, where she has worked the last 11 years.

“I worked in surgery for two years. After that I was on Single Room Maternity (Labour & Delivery) for six years. I worked casually in NICU and Pediatrics as well.”

While cementing her knowledge in maternity, Terri became a Clinical Instructor for Assiniboine’s Practical Nursing program. This allowed her to facilitate acute practicums on surgery, maternity and paediatrics while educating students for the CHCA and LPN programs at long-term facilities in Brandon.

Having experienced so many different areas of the health care field, Terri now enjoys working across maternity, NICU or pediatrics and occasionally in the Outpatient Care Unit (OCU) at Brandon Hospital. The diverse and intense nature of nursing has been a critical aspect that keeps her engaged and enjoying her role as a nurse.

“I was able to use my full scope of practice in the hospital and learn more skills and experience across different nursing pathways.” Nursing, however, is not for the faint-hearted, and Terri manages the demanding role with a careful balance.

“I enjoy helping people, and the job is busy, but it can be rewarding and enjoyable, especially with good colleagues.

“Maternity was three different areas: triage area, labour and delivery, as well as postpartum, and each day you had a different role.”

Twelve years after graduating from Assiniboine, Terri still works alongside fellow graduates and now teaches beside instructors who taught her, passing on her passion for nursing to the next generation of nurses.