When Michael Cadegan decided he wanted to become a nurse, he didn’t have to think twice about where he wanted to study; he knew CBU was the right choice for him. Because of his previous coursework and experience as a kinesiologist, Michael was eligible for the newly developed two-year Advanced Standing Nursing Program and became a member of the inaugural class. “It feels pretty special being a member of CBU’s first graduating class of the advanced standing program. It was both challenging and rewarding for the students and professors as we navigated through the new curriculum together,” says Michael.
Throughout the program, Michael’s professors provided ample opportunity for students to provide feedback on how the program was going, in order to make adjustments and improvements for the next group of students. What stood out most to Michael about the program, was the new concept-based curriculum. Rather than relying solely on the memorization of information, CBU nursing students learn in concepts, which allows for easier retention when it comes to tests and exams, as well as hands on learning in the hospital.
“Nursing requires the ability to understand a vast body of knowledge and the skills to apply that knowledge when instructing patients, communicating with family members, consulting physicians and in day-to-day nursing care. Our professors expected a lot from us, especially during our clinical placements. Because of that, I feel very prepared to take on those tasks,” says Michael.
Michael currently works in the Garron Centre, the mental health and addictions unit of the IWK in Halifax. He says the strong focus placed on mental health nursing in CBU’s curriculum expanded his interest in the field and led to his current position. Though Michael is thrilled to be working in the field, there are certain things he misses about being on campus. “Being in an academic environment, being pushed by your professors daily and having so many resources at your fingertips is something that no student should take for granted,” says Michael.
He is very excited to be returning to Cape Breton to celebrate convocation with his peers and professors, with the added excitement of representing his graduating class as the 2018 Fall Valedictorian. “I hope that I will be able to remind students of the fond memories they made at CBU, while instilling in them a sense of hope and optimism for the future,” says Michael. “One message I hope to share with the graduating class in my speech is to remember where you came from and the lessons your home has passed on to you. Even though I’m not living in Cape Breton, I am so grateful to have grown up there and completed my nursing education at CBU. Being from a small town and working with vulnerable populations has taught me how to authentically connect and have meaningful interactions with people from all walks of life. I’ll carry this skill with me wherever I go and am so grateful to Cape Breton and CBU for instilling this skill in me.”