Meet Mariah Perry

Student Mariah Perry stands in the Kelowna campus courtyard clutching her backpack in nursing scrubs
"The practical nursing program enabled me to find out who I am and what wanted to be."

Tell us your full name!
Mariah Perry

What did you study at OC?
I took the Practical Nursing Diploma program in Kelowna and graduated in June of 2019.

What did you enjoy most about your program?
There were so many things I loved about the Practical Nursing program. I loved how fast it was. It took just less than two years to complete and it was very reassuring knowing that once I graduated there were so many job opportunities out there that I could start right away. I was very fortunate to get my dream job at the hospital and begin working at KGH as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

I also loved the amazing instructors! They were so supportive, helpful and kind throughout the whole program! What was also so very valuable to me was what I learned about myself and how I grew as a person. The practical nursing program enabled me to find out who I am and what wanted to be.

Did you have the chance to complete a practicum, co-op work term or work as a student employee at OC?
The practical nursing program is based on four semesters and after each one we had different practicums. The first two semesters were in long term care facilities, where I learned the importance of patience and the holistic view of the person. Third semester was at the hospital where I found my passion for acute care and learned many skills, assessments and time management. And fourth semester was focused on community care, mental health and maternity. I got to take part in the community care and mental health part. I learned how important it is to recognize your own biases and to withhold any judgements.

There was also a final preceptorship to complete the program where you get placed with another nurse and eventually worked your way to taking over their role. I was placed at the hospital and this final preceptorship really helped me to zero in on what it truly is like to be an LPN and the everyday duties they have.

Can you share with us one of your favourite moments or achievements from your program?
One of my favourite moments of the program was probably when I was at the hospital for one of my last preceptorship shifts. I had a few spare moments and decided to take the time to visit a terminally ill elderly patient who had decided it was her time to go and had chosen to take part in MAID (medical assistance in dying). The ten or fifteen minutes I spent with her taught me so much and I know I will always remember this visit and the wise words she told me.

What brought you to Okanagan College?
What brought me to Okanagan College was the smaller class sizes, less expensive tuition and ideally the practical nursing program. Before I got into the Practical Nursing program I took a semester of sciences which helped me to gain experience at the college.

What was your experience like at OC?
My experience at OC was overall pretty great! I realized that even though it can be tough I really do like learning. I am also very lucky because I have met my best friend for life through my program and as cliché as it sounds, it is true.

What did you like most about your OC campus?
What I liked the most about my OC campus was the smallness of it. Yes, at first it seemed very huge, but once I got to know it better it I appreciated how close everything was. I loved how I still saw familiar faces around and how easy it was to get to know people and how friendly most people were.

Tell us about your future academic, career and personal goals.
My goals currently are to gain more experience as an LPN and to see where that takes me. I have been considering pursuing further education to get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but for now I am very happy to be where I am and to take a break from school for awhile. What I know for sure is that nursing will always be a part of my life and I love what I do! Being a nurse is very rewarding and I would recommend it as a career to anyone who loves helping others.

Published By Public Affairs on November 19, 2020

Start your career in nursing at OC

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.

Pick your intake

There will be four program intakes per year: Each January at the Kelowna and Penticton campus and each September at the Kelowna and Vernon/Salmon Arm campus. Vernon and Salmon Arm alternate hosting the program each September. The overall length of the program is 70 weeks including built in program breaks; the length of instruction including preceptorship is 62 weeks.

Specialize in your field

Licensed practical nurses can specialize in one or more areas, such as: acute care, palliative care, community care, and health promotion and education. Nurses often work with other members of health-care teams, at walk-in clinics, hospitals, health centres and home environments.

Learn about the diploma