First class compassion and care
Pride was evident as Vancouver Community College's first nursing degree students donned cap and gown in November 2010 to mark the completion of their studies. The 24 students began the program in January 2009, created to meet the high demand within the health care system for registered nurses.
Among the trailblazing class of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) students was Deserie Consolacion, now 29 years old, who enrolled in the 18-month advanced entry program after completing VCC’s practical nursing program.
Deserie Consolacion, one of 9,000 VCC nurses who built this city.
VCC’s BScN degree program was launched in conjunction with the opening of VCC's health sciences building featuring state-of-the-art classrooms and training labs for nursing and other health programs. The high-tech, simulated hospital facility—the only one in the province—combined with small classes and instructors with real-world experience helped students like Deserie graduate with the high skills and professionalism much sought after in the health care sector.
Deserie's instructors remember her commitment to her training and willingness to put in extra time in the Learning Centre—just one of the student support services VCC provides to help students in their studies and in preparing to go out into the work world. Deserie remembers the guidance and understanding of her instructors and especially that she never felt alone when undergoing the demanding training.
Deserie, who was born in the Philippines, came to Canada as a teenager, joining her mother in East Vancouver.
After graduating from VCC, she was hired at St. Paul's Hospital—where she still works on a casual basis—and now works full time for Fraser Health as a critical care nurse in the ICU at Surrey Memorial Hospital. She hopes to pursue a master’s degree and become a Nurse Practitioner, with long-term dreams of a career in travel nursing.
Deserie identified two events that helped her realize that nursing is far more than just a career: returning to the Philippines to be with her grandfather in his final days and working with a family in North Vancouver caring for a man with multiple sclerosis. "What I love about nursing is that I become part of someone's life. Not only I am there to help the patient, but also their family. I help them during the most vulnerable part of their lives; to help ease their pain, hold their hands when they feel afraid, give them a smile at the most difficult time and cry with them. Nursing is a very rewarding career!"
While it's been quite a while since the first class of nurses graduated from VCC (then Vancouver Vocational Institute) in 1949, Deserie and her fellow BScN graduates are among the legion of VCC-trained nurses who have been providing first-class care, comfort and support for British Columbians.