Nursing grad's unique path to career success

female nurse walking down hospital hallway pushing iv pole

A graduate of the collaborative McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree program, Melissa McMaster ’18 is living her dream working in the Emergency Department at Hamilton General Hospital, part of Hamilton Health Sciences.

Reaching this goal was a long path that started by taking online courses through Mohawk’s Continuing Education while she stayed at home to take care of her young children. She completed a certificate in occupational health and safety management before enrolling full time into Mohawk’s pre-health program when her kids were school-aged. “This started my nursing journey.” After completing the program Melissa was accepted to the BScN program offered at the Institute for Applied Health Sciences at McMaster campus.

Being able to learn in a unique hands-on environment while earning a degree was exactly what Melissa needed to reach her goal of becoming a nurse and working at the General Hospital. In Melissa’s experience, she felt that the BScN program provided her with a competitive edge and prepared her and her classmates for the working world. With all the courses she has taken through Mohawk, Melissa has felt supported in her studies. “There are a lot of resources offered to students and the teachers are invested in student success,” says Melissa. “I think that’s why I continued to choose to take courses at Mohawk.”

In addition to her classroom and lab studies, Melissa was offered six placements within the hospital setting where she was exposed to nursing practices. Each placement offered a different perspective and helped to build her skills while providing her with the opportunity to grow as a person. “Being able to see people in their most vulnerable times and being able to help them in even a small way is both humbling and gratifying. I think a lot of times we get caught up in our own world and it was eye-opening to see some of the struggles people in our community are working through.”  

In her final placement, Melissa was assigned to the Hamilton General Hospital’s Emergency Department. Her time spent there provided invaluable experience and knowledge and built up her confidence in becoming a nurse. As a student, the staff were extremely supportive and encouraging allowing her to jump right in providing her a dedicated network of people that she now works with every day. “The emergency department is often chaotic and stressful, but knowing you are never really on your own surrounded by a team definitely impacted my decision to apply and want to work in this environment for my career.”