“There is just so much you can do with a nursing degree!” says Matthew Le Gresley.
“Nurses are in-demand all over the world, so your options are endless. If you choose to stay in BC, the benefits are good and there are so many aspects of the healthcare system that you can use your nursing brain for, and different ways to help people live healthier lives.”
Opportunities for using a “nursing brain” include patient care, public health, technology and clinical systems, leadership, and change management. Nursing has avenues to suit anyone who’s interested in the human side of healthcare. “The beauty of nursing is that all people have health and in some way their lives are impacted by health, whether it’s their own or that of others in their lives. Being in nursing allows you to find ways to improve things and to be there for people who need help,” Matthew says.
Matthew spent the first nine years of his career as a paramedic, but after he married, he began looking more closely at the benefits of returning to school. He entered the Nursing Program at Coast Mountain College (Northwest Community College at that time) in 2013 and studied his first two years at the Terrace campus. Although most students complete their nursing degree in Terrace through UNBC, Matthew moved to Kelowna for family reasons and completed his degree at UBC Okanagan.
Matthew enjoyed his years at CMTN, benefitting from the small class sizes and the camaraderie he enjoyed with his fellow students. “It gave us the opportunity to get to know each other and our instructors really well.”
He admits that it was intimidating to return to school as a mature learner. It meant lost wages while studying, in addition to the cost of tuition and living expenses, but the investment paid off with a more flexible career that he loves. This year, the CMTN Foundation is offering a $1,500 entrance award to all first-year students in the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate in Nursing Program (NCBNP) to help offset the cost of investing in a nursing degree.
In addition to his clinical and systems work, Matthew engages in activism for equality, diversity, and inclusion through his work as Northwest Lobby Coordinator for the BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) and Northwest Representative for the BCNU’s Men in Nursing Caucus.
When asked if nursing can be difficult, Matthew responds with tremendous positivity. “Every field of service presents challenges. When the field you are in sparks your energy, it doesn’t feel like that much work.”
Since qualifying with his Bachelor of Nursing, Matthew has worked in many different areas of the profession, including hospital bedside care, mental health and addictions support, palliative care, and now technology to better improve clinical practices, provide digital tools for consumer health, and advocate for clients.
“There is so much you can do at a systems level if you choose that direction,” says Matthew. He goes on to say that working in technology can be just as rewarding as being by a patient’s bedside, meanwhile you’re improving healthcare for entire populations.
Applications for CMTN’s Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate in Nursing Program close on June 1, 2023. If you are interested in taking the next step toward a nursing career, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Executive Director, External Relations