Monday, 28 July 2014, 10:30 pm

Niagara student wins nursing award

Meghan Friesen, 28, proudly holds her award certificate as a 2013 SIM Student Award recipient. PHOTO BY CARLIE CHERNENKOBy CARLIE CHERNENKO
Staff Writer
“Nursing is a high stress, fast-paced profession where actions and decisions result in instantaneous positive or negative outcomes for another human being.”
That is how Meghan Friesen, a 28-year-old Practical Nursing student, views the profession she has chosen.
Friesen is “very proud” of her program work, but will always feel she could have done a bit more. “It’s like the house is clean, but it’s never really clean.”
She says that, despite having won the 2013 SIM Student Award. She entered the SIM-one Simulation Student Contest with an essay about how health care simulations have changed her learning. According to Friesen, the contest was open to any health care student in Ontario.
“It could be a chiropractor student, a dental hygiene student, med students, any health care student in the province.”
Friesen is in the modified Practical Nursing program here, which is delivered in a slightly different way than the regular program.
It is carried over three years instead of two and most of the classes are on weekends or in the evening.
Friesen is completing her program’s last placement in the emergency room at the new hospital in St. Catharines. She will complete the program on Jan. 31.
Although she has enjoyed her program “very much” she adds, “You absolutely have to want to do it. The more time you put into it, the better off you are.”
As for spare time Friesen said the modified delivery allowed her to work outside of class.
It was in October 2013, after an announcement by one of her professors, Friesen entered the SIM-one Simulation Student Contest.
On Nov. 18, Friesen was announced as a recipient of the 2013 SIM Student Award, alongside Lucy Dong Xuan Li from the University of Toronto, and was presented with the award at the 2013 Ontario Simulation Exposition in Toronto.
From Dec. 5 to Dec. 6, Friesen attended the 2013 SIM Expo at the InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel along with over 300 other people. While there, she participated in workshops and listened to the keynote speakers.
In her winning essay she wrote, “I have come to realize there are two moments where I am most thankful for my simulation experience: the moment immediately before and the moment after I have safely and successfully performed that skill on a patient.”
Friesen notes that she found the simulations difficult to appreciate fully until she had gone from using them to being out in the community with real people.
“You can say OK, I’m about to give an injection to this person and I’m feeling a little bit more comfortable because I’ve had this experience in the lab. I mean, that being said, it’s still really scary, but it is a feeling of being much more prepared and until you’ve had the lab training and then gone out into the real world, it’s hard to understand.”
Her overall experience with simulations has changed her outlook on the way she goes about doing her job.
“From an education standpoint it’s helped me to appreciate the tools that we have in the skills lab at the school and it’s made me want to sort of help get the word out and help other students to access different resources to help in learning.”
Through a few chuckles, she offers that if she had the chance to go through the program again she would take the lab components “a lot more seriously.”
On the SIM-one website, Dr. Bruce Ballon, SIM-one’s director of education, says, “Having read and watched the entries, we see that health care training has become more experiential and transformative. I anticipate the entrants of this award will having exciting careers ahead.”
On that note, Friesen is unsure about what she wants to do after graduation. She says she enjoys caring for others, but has been contemplating going to medical school to further her education in the health care field.
“There’s a lot of consider; it’s a big commitment. I’d like to have a family at some point [and] it’s a lot of time, a lot of money. I would have to make sure that I was in it completely.”
While Friesen mulls that over, she says she feels like she might miss the hands-on aspect of nursing, or the “people care”.
“You know, I really, really, really like caring for people; I love it. It sounds so cheap, but it makes me feel full. That sounds so embarrassingly cheesy, but it’s true.”

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