Practical Nursing grad answers his calling

Chandler Boyd speaking with a patient in a hospital setting

Chandler Boyd is following his grandfather’s footsteps. Years ago, the alumnus’s grandfather was a nurse at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH). Today, Chandler is in the same role, at the same workplace, making the same positive impact.

“I love the ability to make close connections and lasting change in the lives of patients I come into contact with,” says Chandler, who graduated from Mohawk’s Practical Nursing program in 2019. “Being able to lift a patient out of some of the lowest points of their lives and back to a mental state that allows them to be back at baseline level of functioning is a truly gratifying experience.”

Chandler’s journey to nursing wasn’t a straight path. It actually included pitstops and redirection that served the important purpose of helping him to find what he describes as his calling. Unsure which career he wanted to pursue when he graduated from high school, Chandler worked as an exterminator. A passion for health and fitness convinced him to apply to Mohawk’s Health, Wellness and Fitness program, which Chandler completed in 2017. But, while he enjoyed the program, it just didn’t seem like the right career fit.

“I eventually decided to take the leap and begin the path to get into nursing,” he says. “I graduated from the Pre-Health Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Advanced Diplomas and Degrees program and applied to the Practical Nursing program at Mohawk. The combination of in-lab, hands-on learning and lectures equipped me with the skills and knowledge that I needed. I will always be grateful for the experience, as it allowed me to pursue my career in nursing.”

By the time Chandler entered the Practical Nursing program, he had a clear goal in mind: launching a career as a nurse in psychiatry. In a collaborative learning environment, he was prepared for his goal through simulated and real-life opportunities in state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. Chandler also completed multiple clinical placements, including working in a setting directly related to his goal. During his final clinical, Chandler was placed at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare West 5th Campus in the Waterfall 1 Moods Disorders unit.

“My time on the unit was great and very educational,” he remembers. “It led to a job opportunity immediately after graduating. I started as a part-time employee [at SJHH] in 2020. Throughout that time, I worked on my unit and also became a member of the in-patient vaccination team — working with a team to coordinate vaccine administration to in-patients throughout the hospital. Skip to October 2021, and I was offered a full-time position on the same unit.”

Chandler’s career continues to bud at SJHH, which has earned a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. The hospital is also recognized as a leading academic and research centre. With the confidence to contribute to such a renowned medical centre, Chandler’s advice to aspiring nursing students is simple yet assuring.

“Take a chance,” he says. “The quality of education you receive at Mohawk College will prepare you for a successful career as a Registered Practical Nurse.”