Meet Lisa Matthews, Practical Nursing instructor

Practical Nursing Instructor Lisa Matthews with "Meet Your Instructor" text overlain to the left.

'In Canada, there will be many opportunities for our next generation of nurses'

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Edmonton, but have worked and lived all over the world.

What is your education and area of interest?

I started my nursing career with a Nursing Diploma from VCC in Vancouver. I then completed specialty certifications in critical care and emergency nursing from BCIT. Following this I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Dalhousie University and then a Master’s in Public Health from Michigan State University. My area of specialty is quality in health care and accreditation. My academic interests are improving quality in health care through improving safety, specifically cultural and employee safety – which ultimately leads to improved patient safety outcomes, and that is my ultimate goal.

What do you like most about the work you do?

The enthusiasm of my students. I like listening to them and hearing their fresh and interesting views on nursing and health care and how to improve it. Their passion and commitment to the nursing profession is inspiring, and to be able to provide them opportunities where it all comes together for them and clicks is what I like most about the work I do.

Favourite teaching experience?

We took a cohort of students to Thailand to complete their clinical practicum in the community in a remote area of northeast Thailand. To see their growth as nurses and professionals over that period of time was the highlight of my teaching here at OC.

What advice do you have for new students?

You have a long career ahead of you, and nursing is challenging work. Take care of yourself both mentally and physically, and adopt healthy habits early. Stay curious.

Our students have had to adapt this year. Any highlights you can share about the way they’ve responded?

In March, our students in Kelowna who were entering into preceptorship had been removed from clinical placements due to the pandemic. Following this, the group collective wrote a letter to the Dean requesting to go back into their clinical placements. Their letter was articulate, highlighting their responsibilities as professionals and their readiness to enter into clinical during such an uncertain time. They stressed the importance of having more nurses available to care for clients, within a stressed health-care system, and the need for them to graduate to support their colleagues in providing quality care in these circumstances.  

Why should people consider a career in nursing?

I became a nurse because I was interested in the human experience, exploring and supporting it in some way. Practically, I wanted to work in a profession that allowed me to travel around the world and experience new cultures in an impactful way.

Nursing is such a multifaceted profession and you can work in so many different areas depending on your interests. Our interests change over time, and this is one of the few professions that allows you flexibility in the work you do, without having to complete significant retraining, while still earning a good living. In Canada, there will be many opportunities for our next generation of nurses. Our aging population, with their complex medical needs, and retiring workforce increases our need for nursing professionals. This year has shown us the impact of emerging diseases such as COVID-19, and the important role nursing professionals play in all areas, to care for our population during this pandemic.

Published By Public Affairs on January 5, 2021

Practical Nursing Diploma

Gain skills, attitudes and judgment needed to perform in a career in health care, with learning experiences that are integrated, professional, collaborative and culturally sensitive.

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Careers in care

Careers in health care and social development provide a meaningful way to meet the needs of families and communities. The Okanagan region’s population and demographics provide diverse learning opportunities in a range of fields. Practical-oriented programs prepare students for careers in health and social development settings, including hospital and community nursing, long-term care, home care, social services, non-profit societies, children’s daycare and more.

There are 10 different Health and Social Development programs available at Okanagan College, with training covering physical therapy, pharmacy, early childhood education and nursing.

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