By Amy Geddes
Nuttida Chieosongkram was an accredited nurse in Thailand, but when she moved to Canada, she did what many would find difficult; she redid her post-secondary education to continue working in her field.
Graduating this year with a BSN from the Camosum College-UVic collaborative nursing program, she looks back on her years of study, not as a do-over, but as a complement to what she had learned in Thailand.
“It added to what I’d learned before,” she says. “It gave me a stronger ability to care for people.”
Chieosongkram’s story is one of dedication and perseverance. As a youth in Thailand, Chieosongkram was deeply affected by her mother’s battle with liver cancer. “I saw the sadness in my family and I did not know how to comfort them,” she recalls. “I told myself that I would learn how to care for and comfort people in their time of need.”
In Thailand she completed four years of post-secondary nursing education and received a nursing and midwifery degree.
Seeking adventure she moved to Canada as a nanny, soon discovering that she wanted to remain in the country permanently. But her credentials did not translate into what is required of a Canadian registered nurse. After growing tired of waiting tables and working in hotels to earn a living she enrolled in the Camosun College-UVic collaborative nursing program to earn her post-secondary credentials a second time.
She quickly began to see that the more technology-based content of the Canadian nursing program in fact supplemented the hands-on training she had received in Thailand.
“It’s learning in a different kind of way,” she says.
She uses the example of administering an intravenous. In Thailand nurses would administer the IV manually; in Canada they programmed a computer to deliver the medication at the appropriate rate.
“I had the chance to work independently and collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams inside and outside hospitals. The instructors helped me to think as a leader.”
Chieosongkram spent two practica with the Tsawout First Nation band and after eight years of nursing-related education in both countries combined, she has just secured a position at Chilliwack General Hospital as a mental health psychiatry nurse—a profession she trained for at UVic that she had not studied previously in Thailand.