Fleming College graduate Kimberly Coe feels honoured to be a nurse

Kimberly Coe, pictured before an N95 surgical mask, face shield and gloves were required as a protective measure.

Kimberly Coe felt anxious when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but now the Registered Practical Nurse feels comfortable with her new normal.

“I feel safe and surrounded by a good group of people,” said Kimberly, who works in the Palliative Unit and Complex Continuing Care at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC).

In Kimberly’s new work routine, she wears street clothes to work and changes into uniform at the hospital. She also wears an N95 surgical mask, face shield and gloves as a protective measure.

But adapting her work routine is worth it because Kimberly loves being a nurse.

“I love it. Is it hard? Yes. But I find caring for people to be a privilege,” she explains. “In Palliative Nursing, it’s not just about the patients, it’s about the families you touch.”

One special moment was when Kimberly received a private Facebook message from the daughter of a patient who had passed away.

Three months earlier, Kimberly had painted that patient’s nails. “In the message, she said it took her three months to find me,” Kimberly explains. “She told me, ‘my mom may not have known you were painting her nails, but I did. And that mattered to me. That made a difference to me.’”

Kimberly loves helping others and has always spent time caring for her family, friends and neighbours. She decided to pursue her dream of being a nurse at 51 years old when, after a late summer night chatting with a friend, she felt encouraged to apply to Fleming College.

Unfortunately Kimberly was not accepted into the Practical Nursing program, but she was encouraged to consider the General Arts and Science – College Health Science (GHS) program (now called Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas). GHS is a pathway program that prepares students for admission to college programs in health sciences, biology or chemical sciences.

 “The Practical Nursing coordinator at the time said the GHS program would be a good thing for me to do because I had been out of school for a long time,” said Kimberly. “She said it would help get the wheels going and that really appealed to me. I enrolled and it was the best thing for me!”

Kimberly balanced her studies with personal responsibilities, including being a single mom to a 16-year-old and home ownership, and is happy with her decision to return to college. She encourages anyone considering a nursing career to take the Pre-Health program because it prepares students for college and helps with the transition.

“Everything in the GHS program is all useful stuff and it’s a really great way to figure out what you want to do for your career,” said Kimberly. “I loved (coordinator) Susan Hyndman’s biology class; she is a phenomenal teacher and it was an unbelievable learning experience.”

Outside of class, Kimberly worked at the Fleming Campus Store and enjoyed taking study breaks in the Steele Centre. “I would go there to relax and listen to music, talk to friends, and close my books for a minute,” she said. “It’s important to take breaks and have fun too.”

To support her studies, Kimberly used Fleming Tutoring Services and highly recommends this academic support. “I never failed. My marks were high and I made the Dean’s List for the first time in my life!” she said. “People think you only use Tutoring when you’re failing, but you should go to Tutoring right from the start to help you succeed.”

After completing the GHS program in 2017, Kimberly enrolled in Practical Nursing and, during her last year at Fleming College, she was joined on campus by her daughter. Kimberly’s daughter is studying in Fleming’s School of Trades and Technology and Kimberly is proud of her for pursuing this profession.

While her daughter continues studying at Fleming College, Kimberly is proud that her education led to employment. After completing consolidation in the Palliative Unit at PRHC and graduating in 2019, Kimberly was hired immediately as a Registered Practical Nurse.

She highly recommends Fleming’s Pre-Health program to others and said she really enjoyed her Fleming College experience.

“People asked me when I started, ‘are you going to the Orientation?’ and I said, ‘of course I am!’ I loved that day; I had the most fun! And I wear my Fleming College buff from Orientation to the hospital!” she laughs. “I loved those days and I want to go back– I’d love to return and volunteer in the GHS program.”

Paramedic Josh Hogan is confident in his Fleming College education, skills and knowledge

Although Josh Hogan is still new to the paramedic profession, he feels well-prepared for his career at Peterborough Paramedics thanks to his Fleming College education.

“Between labs and teaching, you’re ready to start as soon as you’ve finished the program,” said Josh, who graduated from Fleming’s Paramedic program in 2019 and General Arts and Science – College Health Science program (now called Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas) in 2017.

“My experience at Fleming was awesome. There’s an ambulance so you can practise driving, you can practise skills and scenarios anytime, graduates come back to give students feedback, and the faculty are fantastic.”

Josh decided to pursue this career after experiencing a hockey injury that led to paramedics arriving to help.

“I cut my leg badly playing hockey and the paramedics that came did an amazing job,” he explains. “To see how well they did their job and calmed everyone down made me want to do that one day.”

He took the General Arts and Science – College Health Science certificate to build a strong foundation before entering the competitive Paramedic program. He said this certificate helped him feel more prepared for the Paramedic program.

Now that Josh is working as a paramedic, he is certainly experiencing challenges amidst this global pandemic, however he feels confident in his skills and knowledge.

“I still enjoy it, but it is more stressful,” said Josh on working amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “Before, I wouldn’t feel stressed by normal calls, it would be car accidents that would bring stress; Now, every call is stressful. We’re trying not to bring anything home to family and friends.”

Josh explains that 911 dispatchers do a COVID-19 screening call and, when paramedics arrive, they ask a series of questions to determine whether additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required, such as face shields, masks and gowns. If the patient may have COVID-19, paramedics report to the hospital and bring the patient to a designated arrival area by ambulance.

Another change due to the COVID-19 pandemic is that family members can no longer ride in the ambulance with patients.

“It’s been a learning curve,” said Josh. “We’re not running into scenes; we’re making sure we’re okay first by screening and wearing PPE. I think some of these changes will stay now that we’ve experienced this.”

His advice to others is to continue to be cautious. “Don’t go out unless you need to, wash your hands and, if you’re sick, stay home and get a family member to run your errands.”

Childhood hospital stay inspired Fleming grad Olivia Anderson to become a nurse

olivia-anderson-blog-photoOlivia Anderson was 13 years old when she decided she wanted to be a nurse. After being diagnosed with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, Olivia underwent an 11 hour surgery to have her spine fused with titanium rods. She was bedridden in the hospital for days, unable to shower due to the incision, so when a thoughtful nurse took the time to wash Olivia’s hair, it made Olivia feel especially grateful.

“It made me feel 100 times better to have clean hair. It was such a simple thing, but it made a profound difference in how I felt during my initial recovery. I wanted to make people feel like that too,” she said.

She enrolled in Fleming College’s Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas (Class of 2015), which led her to the Practical Nursing program (Class of 2017).

“I loved my time at Fleming and I felt I really made the most of it. I was quite engaged as a student, which is a testament to the environment on campus,” said Olivia. “The community there is something special to be a part of, and it made me want to get involved and give back.”

Olivia was elected three times to Fleming Student Administrative Council, which she credits for boosting her confidence, developing her leadership abilities, and strengthening her ability to advocate for the people around her. “As a nurse, you are an advocate for your patients because you are the one who is providing the hands-on care and really get to see the whole picture,” said Olivia, explaining why this skill is applicable to her career path.

While awaiting the results of her Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Examination, Olivia applied to work on contract as a Fleming College Grad Recruiter for fall 2017. “I wanted to talk to future students about what a great place Fleming is and what a great nursing program they have,” said Olivia, who was hired by the College to travel across Ontario speaking to a variety of audiences about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

“A skill I really developed during my time as a Grad Recruiter for Fleming was time management. Coordinating my day around appointments, distances between them, knowing how much time I would need to set up/tear down, as well as time to complete any paper work or prepare for future events. This really taught me to see the big picture of the day and not to focus solely on the small stuff,” she said. “As a nurse, there is so much to keep on your radar throughout the day when it comes to coordinating one person’s care, but on a regular day shift you can have four to five patients all requiring a lot of your attention.”

olivia-anderson-blog-photo-2At the end of her Grad Recruiter contract, Olivia was hired by Peterborough Regional Health Centre as a Registered Practical Nurse. She is responsible for the hands-on care of medical and surgical patients, including: medications, wound care, assistance with activities of daily living, administering treatments, performing assessments, providing education and support to patients and families during someone’s hospital stay, raising concerns about a patient to the multi-disciplinary team, and more.

“The best thing about it is that you are always engaged,” said Olivia. “There is never a moment at work where I am bored. I am always on my toes, always thinking about who needs what and when, and constantly reorganizing my day around any changes to the patient’s care plan.”

Her advice to current students is to ask lots of questions, take every opportunity to gain hands-on experience, and learn from those around you and their experience.

Olivia Anderson is excited to travel Ontario for Fleming College

olivia-andersonOlivia Anderson looks forward to sharing information about Fleming College with prospective students after she completed two programs at the college. Olivia was hired by Student Recruitment to work as a Grad Recruiter, travelling the province speaking to a variety of audiences about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

“I am really looking forward to meeting students interested in the Nursing program, and sharing my experience and advice with them on things I wish I had known before I started the program,” said Olivia, who took Fleming’s (what is now called the) Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas (2015), which led her to the Practical Nursing program (2017). “Hopefully I can make their transition into college an easier and more enjoyable experience.”

Olivia has wanted to be a Grad Recruiter since last year, when she saw Fleming College Facebook Page posts on the 2016 Grad Recruiters, Emily, Kyle and Kelly, and their adventures that fall.

“The idea of traveling Ontario, meeting perspective students and sharing my Fleming experience with them seems like an absolute blast to me,” she said. “I love Fleming, so I’m excited to inspire other students to come here and make the most of their college experience.”

One of the things Olivia loves most about Fleming College is the close-knit community. “I can’t walk through the halls without seeing someone I know and stopping for a quick chat. Everyone is very friendly here and it makes this campus a very enjoyable place to be,” she said. “The faculty here truly care about your success here and want to get to know you as more than just a number.”

Olivia also loves living in Peterborough, which she describes as having all of the amenities of a city but with a laid-back, natural environment. Her favourite spot on campus is the Student Administrative Council office, which has a beautiful view of the forest. “It also has a constant flow of people, so you can meet some very interesting people from many of the different programs in the school,” she added.

The best thing Olivia learned from Fleming College, she said, was that there is more to life than academics. “Which sounds funny since I learned this while attending an academic institution,” she said. “The opportunity to volunteer, travel, organize student events, be a voice for students, be a part of committees and more has taught me things no book could ever describe. I have learned many unteachable life skills through my experiences at Fleming, most of which took place outside of the classroom.”

University Transfer grad Jacob Hadley hopes to inspire those unsure about post-secondary school

jacob-hadleyGrad Recruiter Jacob Hadley does not take his college certificate and university degree lightly. For Jacob, who dropped out of high school at 16 years old, crossing the convocation stage at Trent University this year was a dream come true, and he thanks Fleming College’s University Transfer  program for helping him achieve this milestone.

Jacob stopped attending classes in grade 10 and when he decided to go back the following schoolyear, seeing his friends a year ahead of him in grade 11 made Jacob decide to drop out. He began the process of trying to earn his Ontario Secondary School Diploma through online and Independent Learning Centre courses, and earned his GED at 20 years old.

“It was taking a long time to complete each course and I had many credits to complete to obtain my high school diploma,” said Jacob, who was anxious to catch up to his high school peers. It was Jacob’s mother who found Fleming College’s unique General Arts and Science – University Transfer program, which enables students to experience university-level general arts and social sciences courses while earning credits towards a university degree. Jacob’s older brother attended the program first and was successful, so Jacob decided to enrol.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to study, or if I wanted to study at all, but the program gave me five university credits at Trent and I could pick what I wanted to focus my studies on when I got there,” said Jacob. “It was a broad course of social sciences and writing techniques, which gave me a good perspective of what I wanted to study after. Most importantly, I learned how to write at a university level, which helped me immensely when it came to essays and research papers at Trent. I don’t know how my mom found out about this program but I’m forever grateful she did— thanks mom!”

Jacob enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and sense of community at Fleming. He said students not only build relationships with their peers, but also get to know their professors and stay connected after graduating. “This is especially beneficial with the professors who work in their field and can help find jobs for their students,” he added.

Jacob credits college with helping him become social and outgoing, explaining, “I was very reserved before coming to Fleming College and, while at school, I learned to come out of my shell and I really enjoyed meeting new people.” His favourite spot at Sutherland Campus is the Steele Centre, where he played pool, attended events, and enjoyed concerts.

He completed the two-semester certificate program in 2013 and went directly to Trent University, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a specialization in Marketing and Consumer Culture, this past June (2017).

“Fleming’s UT program completely prepared me for university, especially entering the first and second-year courses where such a large portion of grades were based on writing ability,” said Jacob. “The preparation and feedback I received from my professors in the UT program helped me receive high marks in this area, which greatly reduced stress and anxiety.”

Now that Jacob has completed his studies at Trent University, he is returning to Fleming College– but this time as a staff member. Jacob was hired by Student Recruitment for a Grad Recruiter position, where he will travel the province this fall speaking to a variety of audiences about Fleming programs, services and facilities.

“Fleming gave me the opportunity to get back into education after a lengthy hiatus and I wanted the chance to talk to other people who may not believe college is right for them. There’s always an opportunity for someone in post-secondary education, you just need to find the right place for you,” said Jacob. “I hope I can help guide these students down the right path and one day they will be as grateful as I am to have chosen Fleming College.”

CICE student builds confidence behind the camera

Justin Patterson (photo taken and provided by Justin Patterson, Patterson Photography)
Justin Patterson, photographed by Justin Patterson

Justin Patterson, a second-year Community Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) student, is gaining confidence behind his camera lens. Justin is busy building his photography portfolio, both off-campus and through his CICE program and elective Business courses.

Justin is currently combining his photography passion with his Introduction to Business class. For his social media project, Justin marketed his availability to take photos via email and Facebook, photographed participants, and shared the photos online with a description of each subject. Project participants include faculty members Kim Healy, Les Smith and Chef Mike Sterpin, among others. Justin also photographed Hospitality, Tourism, Human Resources, Business, and Marketing students in the Career Search (BUSN 27) class for their Linkedin headshots recently.

Kim Healy, photographed by Justin Patterson
Kim Healy, photographed by Justin Patterson

“Most people don’t have the opportunity to photograph teachers,” said Justin, who credits “good lighting, a good camera, and good people” for what makes the perfect picture. And thanks to the knowledge he’s gained through the Introduction to Business and Marketing courses, Justin said there’s an added bonus to photographing people. “When I photograph people, they share that picture with other people—they’re doing the marketing for me. And then the people they showed the picture to come to me to get their photo taken,” he explained.

College-level Business classes are just one of the many doors the CICE program has opened for Justin. “I looked into the CICE program and thought it would be a good opportunity for me to go to college and get a job after,” said Justin, who has a learning disability.

The two-year CICE certificate program at Fleming College is open to adults with learning exceptionalities (communication, intellectual, physical and/or multiple). The program has a focus on building foundational literacy skills, applied learning experiences, active community participation, and strengthening independence.

Chef Mike Sterpin, photographed by Justin Patterson
Chef Mike Sterpin, photographed by Justin Patterson

“I like that there’s help, it makes it easier on you. And I get to take other courses, like Intro to Business and I took Marketing. Those classes helped a lot and showed me how to market and run my own business,” said Justin, who has his own photography business called Patterson Photography.

Justin confided that right now he is torn between photography and computers. Justin is doing his CICE Co-op placement at reBOOT Peterborough, where he fixes computers, installs software, tests monitors, and other tasks. But he said the two interests are compatible. “I knew computers before my placement because I’m always editing photos on my computer, but I gained a lot of computer skills there—I can build them and take them apart,” said Justin. “Maybe I’ll work on computers as a day job and do photography as a side business?”

Les Smith, photographed by Justin Patterson
Les Smith, photographed by Justin Patterson

Justin said he would recommend the CICE program to others. “It’s a good opportunity for people with disabilities to have a college experience and it’s a good opportunity to get a job after this program,” he said. Among the skills he’s gained, Justin lists business, photography, and social skills. But mainly, he has gained confidence in himself. “When I took my first Marketing course, I asked my Integration Facilitator Lisa to sit on the other side of the room. I didn’t want the other Marketing students to know I had a learning disability,” he said. “Now, I can share that with other people.”

Angelica Rumbaoa uses her love of helping others to pursue nursing

angelica-rumbaoa-nursingAngelica Rumbaoa always loved helping people, so she wanted to pursue a career in nursing. When Angelica was not accepted into the Practical Nursing program at Fleming College, she didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dream; instead, Angelica enrolled in the General Arts and Science – College Health Science program to better prepare herself.

The General Arts and Science – College Health Science program, since renamed “Pre-Health Sciences Pathway to Certificates and Diplomas,” is a pathway program designed to prepare students for admission to college programs in health sciences, biological or chemical sciences. Fleming College has reserved spaces in the Practical Nursing, Pharmacy Technician, Paramedic, Health Information Management, and Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant programs for qualified graduates.

“I gained a great amount of knowledge throughout the course I took in the General Arts and Sciences program,” said Angelica, who completed the program in 2015 and is currently in her first-semester of Practical Nursing. “It definitely prepared me for the Practical Nursing program, especially for anatomy and physiology. I gained some great friends in the General Arts and Sciences program, where we were able to stay friends in the Practical Nursing program. I also gained a good relationship with teachers who were able to write letters of recommendation and references for my resume.”

Angelica said she is enjoying the challenge of the Practical Nursing program at Fleming College, especially the hands-on experience. “We are in the middle of our clinical experience, and that alone is an amazing experience where I am in the real world doing a lot of things I have learned– and I am also learning from the experience.”

The Practical Nursing student said she is grateful for her experience in the General Arts and Sciences program. “The advantage of doing the pathway program to the Practical Nursing program would definitely be being exempt from courses you’ve done,” she said. “This lightens up your workload so you are able to focus on the core nursing classes. “

Angelica said she is enjoying the Fleming College community, where she is doing well socially and academically.

CICE and DSW students help St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents prepare for Halloween

ciceCommunity Integration Through Cooperative Education (CICE) students helped St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents get in the Halloween spirit yesterday! For their CICE community project, the Fleming College students carved nine pumpkins for the St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents to help decorate for their Halloween party. Fleming Developmental Services Worker students also helped carve pumpkins with the CICE students, as part of their semester 1 course “Thriving at College.”

The St. Joseph’s at Fleming residents judged the pumpkins yesterday afternoon and handed out ribbons to the students for their hard work. Thank you to everyone involved in this great community initiative!

About: The CICE program is designed to strengthen essential skills for work, life and learning. This two-year certificate program is open to adults with Learning Exceptionalities (Communication, Intellectual, Physical and/or Multiple).

The DSW diploma program is designed to provide the specialized skills required for professionals who make a difference every day in the developmental services sector. This program has a specific focus related to supporting people with various intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Autism, and neurocognitive disorders.

Jason Bialkowski shares his Preparatory Health Science story

Facebook Jason“I entered the Preparatory Health Science program straight out of high school to help prepare me for university. My grades in high school and my work ethic weren’t necessarily the best, so I figured that this would be the best time to improve both. I really enjoyed the program, it met all my expectations. The professors were always there for us when we needed help and it did get me to where I wanted to go.

My next step is going to the B.Sc.N. program at Trent University. I believe I’m prepared because the Preparatory Health Science program gave me an advantage over the other students, by giving me background information on how post-secondary is going to be run and what to expect when I do get to the Trent program.

For me, nursing is the step in to the direction that I want to go. I actually want to get into med school and become a surgeon at the end, so I feel that having a medical background before I go into med school is going to really help me out with that.”

The one-year Preparatory Health Science certificate program prepares students for post-secondary level science programs. Students take core courses in chemistry, biology, English and mathematics, while gaining extensive hands-on, laboratory-based learning experience.