April 21, 2021

Alumna RN enjoys the energy and curiosity of the students she has mentored

Laura McKenna, BN '11, reflects on the rewards of volunteering
Laura McKenna at work
Laura McKenna BN'11

To honour National Volunteer Week, we're pleased to highlight a few great volunteers from our nursing community. Read below to hear from a longtime mentor with UCalgary’s NurseMentor program who, out of a desire to support nursing students through their studies, has helped guide the next generation of nurses.

“I’ve always been aware of the importance of engaging in community and sharing your best self with others through volunteering. I’m fortunate that those whom I look up to and admire instilled these values in me from a young age, and led by example themselves.

Everything cheesy that people say about volunteering is true, though, especially that you get back as much as you give and that it just makes you feel good!

“I volunteer to keep busy and engaged, and to utilize some of my skills and strengths to the benefit of others. When I first read about the NurseMentor program, I immediately thought that it would have been of great interest and value to me as a student. In particular, the program creates real-world connections that I see as motivating to nursing students, and offers an outlet for questions and sharing from both sides.

“I’ve personally appreciated the energy, curiosity, and positivity that working with students brings to my professional life. I understand and can clearly remember the difficult and demanding nature of nursing studies, and it’s my goal as a mentor to support students by helping them navigate what’s only the beginning of their unique journey in the practice of nursing.

“As I’ve grown along with the students I’ve met through the NurseMentor program, I’ve always felt that the terms ‘mentor’ or ‘mentee’ never truly apply since the support and the learning flow equally both ways! In this way, the program offers volunteers a means to connect with the students who will be their future colleagues and care providers.”

Laura and Jackie

Laura McKenna (right) with former mentee Jackie Kresnyak. (Photo taken pre-COVID in 2019)

Laura McKenna is a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at the Foothills Medical Centre, and also maintains casual employment at Rosedale Hospice. She has volunteered with the NurseMentor program since 2018. Having completed the Advanced Studies in Critical Care Nursing certificate program in 2020, McKenna is looking forward to beginning her studies in the MN program at UCalgary in fall 2021.

For more information on the NurseMentor program, visit the webpage below.