Get to know Six Nations Polytechnic’s Alumni: Aliyah Thomas 👋🏼
With aspirations to have a rewarding and in-demand career in the healthcare field where she would make meaningful impacts, provide a difference in the lives of others and re-route her skills back to the community, Aliyah set her sights on SNP’s Practical Nursing Program!
The Practical Nursing Program offered at Six Nations Polytechnic engages students with a collaborative learning environment where they will experience simulated and real-life opportunities in state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and placements. Aliyah notes that her most memorable experience was “being able to get hands-on experience in the classroom and then being able to apply them at our placements. Through this, all your learning comes full circle, and everything starts to click!” Upon successful completion, students in this program are eligible to apply for registration as a Registered Practical Nurse in Ontario.
Reminiscing to her time spent in the program, Aliyah says “I had a great experience! I enjoyed the smaller classroom and class size. Our teachers were very helpful and you’re able to get one-on-one help if needed, which is something that would be difficult with a bigger class. It was nice being in a program with other Indigenous students and having Indigenous teachers as well. I loved how supportive everyone was during my time at SNP.”
Entering her post-secondary journey directly after graduating from high school, Aliyah reflects to being the youngest in her class with zero prior healthcare experience, “I had helpful teachers that wanted everyone to succeed, and I made some great friends that helped along the way.” With the support and motivation from her instructors and peers, Aliyah is now employed at the Brantford General Hospital as a Float Nurse!
In this role, Aliyah can work on various floors within the Hospital. Each shift is different and she can be found working with 5 to 6 patients in Medical, Surgical, Rehab, Complex Care, Palliative Care, Cardiology, Stroke or in the ER! Her daily duties for each patient includes checking vitals, blood pressure and wounds; assessing their pain level; and prepping for any tests or procedures the patient may need. Additionally, Aliyah is required to collaborate with doctors, nurses, and PSW’s!
Aliyah pays homage to the Practical Nursing Program because “it has given me experience in different fields and hospitals which helped me find what I like to do and where I would like to work.” Aliyah hopes to further her career by finding where she would like to specialize in and eventually, moving to outpatient work. She notes, “that’s what I love about nursing, there’s so many different pathways you can take and so much learning to do!”
Aliyah’s advice to those who are considering the Practical Nursing Program at SNP is to “take every experience and learning opportunity that you are given. Ask a lot of questions, that is how you will learn!” Follow in Aliyah’s footsteps by applying to the January 2024 intake! Visit www.snpolytechnic.com/apply to secure your seat.
In your own words, please describe your experience in SNP’s Practical Nursing program.
I had a great experience during my practical nursing program at SNP. I enjoyed the smaller classroom and smaller group of students. Our teachers were very helpful and you’re able to get one on one help if needed, something that would be difficult with a bigger class. It was nice being in a program with other indigenous students and having indigenous teachers as well. I loved how supportive everyone was during my time at SNP.
What was your favourite thing you learned/experienced while in this program?
My favourite experience was being able to get hands-on experience in the classroom and then being able to apply them at our placements. All your learning comes full circle and everything starts to click.
What made you want to pursue the Practical Nursing program?
I always knew I wanted a meaningful job and to make a difference in peoples lives everyday and bring my skills back to the community. I was also very interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. I figured nursing would be the best but also challenging career choice.
What was something that challenged you in the program but you were able to overcome?
When I went into the practical nursing program I had just graduated high school. I was the youngest in my class and had zero experience in the healthcare field. A lot of my classmates were PSW’s for years or have had some experience in the healthcare field. Luckily, I had helpful teachers that wanted everyone to succeed and I made some great friends that helped along the way. Without the support I don’t think I would have made it through.
Are you currently employed within your field? If so, where is your place of employment? What are some of your day-to-day duties? (If no, please skip!)
I am currently employed at Brantford General Hospital as a float nurse. A float nurse works on many different floors throughout the hospital such as medical, surgical, rehab, complex care, palliative care, cardiology, stroke and the ER. A typical day on a medicine floor starts off with getting your report for your 5-6 patients, doing your assessments such as vitals, checking their skin/wounds, pain, level, respiratory and abdominal assessments, any medications they need, checking blood sugars if needed, prepping your patient for any tests or procedures they need, collaborating with doctors, other nurses, PSW’s and other healthcare workers and anything else that comes up during your shift.
What are your future goals and dreams career wise? Do you have an ideal place of work, i.e: hospital, a physician’s office, private practice, etc.? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Right now I’m still trying to figure out what I want to specialize in. I love working in the hospital currently but I do eventually want to do something in outpatient. I also want to take some courses but I’m not sure what yet. That’s what I love about nursing, there’s so many different pathways you can take and so much learning to do.
How has the Practical Nursing program assisted to those goals?
The practical nursing program has given me experience in different fields and hospitals which helped me find what I like to do and where I would like to work.
If you could, what advice would you give to someone who is considering taking the Practical Nursing program with SNP?
Take every experience and learning opportunity that you are given. Ask a lot of questions, even if you think it’s a stupid question, that is how you will learn!!