June 3, 2022

Class of 2022: Smaller can be better for students contemplating nursing education

UCalgary/Medicine Hat College nursing students find comfort and connection in smaller community
New nursing grads Areeba Choudhary and Abigail Bezaredie
New grads Areeba Choudhary, BN'22 and Abigail Bezaredie, BN'22 Courtesy of Areeba Choudhary and Abigail Bezaredie

Areeba Choudhary was somewhat daunted by the task of finding the right fit for her choice for post-secondary nursing education. Admittedly, the recent grad (BN’22) didn’t know much about Medicine Hat, but she was drawn to a smaller campus where she felt she could build stronger relationships. Same with fellow Calgarian Abigail Bezaredie, BN’22, and it worked out for both as they were accepted into UCalgary’s Medicine Hat College (MHC) BN program and will convocate on June 10.

Areeba Choudhary, BN'22

Areeba Choudhary, BN'22

Courtesy of Areeba Choudhary

MHC was at the top of my list for making me feel comfortable, safe and confident on my new journey,” Choudhary says now. “I received the best service from each of the departments including enrolment, financial aid and residence.” 

Choudhary and Bezaredie capitalized on all the smaller institution and the city had to offer.

I was very friendly with my instructors, I knew the classes above and below me so I was able to receive a lot of help from others and I was able to help others succeed,” says Bezaredie, who was president of the BN Nursing Club for a year-and-a-half and worked at MHC’s fitness centre and in the lab in the evenings. “It was nice to get that job as it was another opportunity to join a small community.

Choudhary was also heavily involved in the MHC community. I was a student peer supporter, residence assistant, tutor and much more,” she says, adding that these extracurricular activities greatly increased her comfort level, allowing her to network with many different groups. She says:

I became a strong advocate for international students and worked with residence to build safe and welcoming environments for all. I was able to tutor in various subjects like psychology, anatomy and physiology as well as English which in turn kept me informed.

It certainly has not been 'normal' for nursing students the last couple of years, but Bezaredie says she loves being a nurse and it certainly accelerated her career, being exposed early on to all of the chaos of a pandemic. As both a student and an employee, Choudhary explains that the pandemic really challenged her.

"I learned about discipline and accountability. It was difficult staying motivated some days and felt like an endless cycle. However, the challenges that the health-care system was facing made my experience so relevant."

Abigail Bezaredie, BN’22 with classmates

Abigail Bezaredie, BN’22 with classmates

Courtesy of Abigail Bezaredie

While both women are now back in Calgary Choudhary on the urology unit at Rockyview and Bezaredie in neurology/neurosurgery at Foothills they have plans to build their experience and head beyond the city; Choudhary is even thinking of returning to MHC to one day teach future nurses. 

For Bezaredie, she is taking some critical care courses and hopes to work in the ER soon. "Eventually I would love to do some travel work and also visit my country of origin, Ethiopia. Hopefully one day I can start a business there and help out that community."

Reflecting on their university journeys, both women feel fortunate to have had some powerful experiences. “I had some fantastic instructors; it was important for me to ask lots of questions and feel satisfied with the work I had put in,” Choudhary says.

Bezaredie cites instructor JoDee Wentzel as being pivotal in her learning throughout the program. She especially helped me be comfortable in the rural health-care setting and going into places I haven’t usually been comfortable going."

I love rural health because of her and I am also not afraid to try new things because of her as well.

Entrepreneurial UCalgary grads make an impact in business, health care, culture, law, education and more. Read more stories about Class of 2022 students.