From the fish plant to the hospital ward

Separated from her partner – and the home-based business she had run for years – Vicky Martin found herself at a fork in the road. With three children to raise, she had to make some major life decisions: take the easy way, or the difficult but ultimately more rewarding way?

“I needed to figure out what I was going to do with my life,” Martin said. “Was I going to take a minimum wage job at a fish plant, or do something else?”

“Something else” turned out to be going back to school and training for a whole new career. Martin is getting ready to graduate from NBCC’s Practical Nurse program and she couldn’t be happier at the direction her life has taken, although it’s taken a while to get here.

“I applied first to Accounting and Payroll, but I just couldn’t see myself doing books,” she said. “I’m just someone who wants to take care of people. I knew I wouldn’t be fulfilled in bookwork, so I took a breather. I took a job at a fish plant and worked there for a while until I knew what I wanted to do.”

Going back to school as a mature learner wasn’t an easy task, particularly during a global pandemic. The blended academic delivery NBCC adopted in response to public health directives to slow the spread of COVID-19 meant Martin had to quickly up her digital literacy game.

“It was not easy,” she laughed. “But every time I wanted to give up, I would ask myself, do you want to go to the fish plant, or do you want to finish this? And it got easier. The teachers were great, and I had my daughter home with me so she helped me learn some of the (software) programs.”

As Martin begins her preceptorship at a hospital, she can see how the challenges she faced in the blended learning format will ultimately serve her in her chosen career.

“I know I’m stepping into a field that requires a lot of discipline,” she said. “You really have to be organized and disciplined so this experience will help a lot.”

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