As a Bermudian, Keira Whited knew that obtaining a university education after high school would mean leaving her beautiful island home. Because the school she attended in Bermuda followed a Canadian curriculum, Keira felt transitioning to the Canadian educational system would be the best choice. Taking into account her interest in medicine along with her passion to help others, Keira chose to pursue a Bachelor of Science, Nursing at Cape Breton University.
“CBU had the best NCLEX pass rates in Canada when I applied,” says Keira. “That, combined with the amount of clinical time nursing students get here really made the program stand out.” All graduating nurses in the United States and Canada must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to begin practice in the field. CBU is proud to prepare its nursing students for this crucial step. This involves not only providing students with classroom-based learning, but hands-on experience both in labs and local hospitals to ensure a holistic learning experience.
“Clinical experience is the core of this program,” says Keira, who spent time at a nursing home, as well as in various units of the hospital including pediatrics, mental health, surgery and critical care during her clinical experience. “It’s an introduction to what our lives will be like after graduation and the perfect opportunity to perform the skills we’ve spent time reading about.”
Outside of academics, Keira says her time at CBU has taught her time management and organization skills that she will carry throughout her career. “With some help from peer success coaches I learned to prioritize and maintain a schedule successfully, which will definitely benefit me in the future,” says Keira. Her advice to those considering the nursing program is to prepare for hard work and a busy schedule. As for fellow international students, “I’d say bring a warm jacket,” Keira says, laughing. “But in all seriousness, I would tell them to enjoy their time in Canada. It’s a country filled with amazing people and opportunities.”
Though her clinical experience ranks close to the top, Keira says the highlight of her time at CBU wasn’t something academic, but rather something personal. Keira’s CBU story brought someone very special into her life. “In the second year of my program I met my partner who I have been with for over two years,” says Keira. “If it wasn’t for CBU I would have never had the opportunity to meet this beautiful person.”
Keira’s professors also had an important impact on her time in the program, particularly Dr. Odette Griscti, Dr. Corrine McIsaac and Sheila Profit, whose passion and encouragement Keira says made classes all the more enjoyable. After four years of hard work and determination combined with the support of these key players, the time has come for Keira to graduate. On Saturday, May 11, at the Spring 2019 Convocation, Keira will cross the stage alongside her peers in celebration of all they have accomplished together.
“I am beyond excited to be graduating and starting my career,” says Keira, who plans to relocate to Toronto to pursue nursing in the city. “It has been a long and stressful journey, but one I wouldn’t change for the world.” We’re confident that Keira is going to make a difference in the lives of countless people throughout her career as a nurse. Congratulations Keira, we are so proud of you!