As a fourth-year nursing student, Kelsey Holzworth honed her leadership and research skills during a community practicum placement that focused on research policy in Vancouver in October 2016.
A new practicum placement for the University of Northern British Columbia’s School of Nursing, Holzworth participated in primary research on prison health and harm reduction on Granville Island.
She met with stakeholders such as the provincial Deputy Minister of Health, nurses and educators and was included in BC Coalition of Nursing Association meetings.
“The experience gave me a different perspective on community health concerns and that I had to keep an eye on the bigger issues,” she said.
She also gained a seat on a newly developed New Graduate Policy Table that was initiated by the Association of Registered Nurses of B.C. This policy table allows a group of new grad nurses to come together and discuss ideas to improve the new grad experience province wide.
The experience in Vancouver opened up opportunities for her in Prince George.
“It kind of changed the way I look at the profession.”
Holzworth graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in May 2017 and now splits her time as a certified IV therapy nurse in the ambulatory care department at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. and in the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre.
In November 2017, she received the Outstanding Student Intern Recognition Award from the Association of Registered Nurses of B.C. The award recognizes her work for harm reduction and prison health, which provided a number of policy initiatives and background information which the association continues to use.
“It’s an honour to be chosen and recognized and it’s nice to have a professional nursing association that recognizes hard work,” she said. “It made me feel that I did valuable work.”
Before she enrolled at UNBC to earn her Bachelor of Nursing degree, Holzworth was a Licensed Practical Nurse working with those with addictions in Vancouver.
Working in that setting, she realized she could have more of an impact as a Registered Nurse in a leadership role.
Holzworth realized she found her passion in nursing and she knew she could fulfill that in Prince George.
Once enrolled at UNBC’s School of Nursing, Holzworth’s passion for nursing continued to grow.
She credits her professors who supported and encouraged all of the students in the program to ensure they succeeded.
“You never felt like you were just a small fish in a big pond,” she said. “Going to nursing school at a smaller university was an awesome experience as I was able to build relationships with my professors and ensure that when I needed the extra support they were available.
“Besides that, the campus is beautiful and it’s never a bad thing to have to work on homework in a beautiful environment. The diversity of my classmates also means I now have friends all over the province too, which means I get to travel around to visit everyone!”