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An Honest Journey Through McMaster Nursing

An Honest Journey Through McMaster Nursing
Maheen Nadeem
2nd Year

McMaster’s nursing is a well-known program throughout Canada, but I didn’t hear about it until my senior year in high school. Before that, my post-secondary interests were varying, but not anything I had ever dreamt of pursuing. While I was figuring out what programs to apply for, I simultaneously had been spending more time visiting hospitals than I’d liked. Though in each of these visits, what made them much easier were the nurses I had met. They were all so incredibly kind and helpful that I had decided I wanted to do the same thing they did for me, for another patient one day. Since I was already so accustomed to McMaster’s Hospital, it made sense for McMaster’s nursing program to be my first pick (its high reputation helped too).
While I had applied to other universities, Mac’s focus on Med/Surg placements during the second year was pretty appealing since I had been eager to get into clinical experience. Along with that, the NCLEX pass rate was 96% which was reassuring to know at the time. Truthfully, I didn’t spend months contemplating whether I should attend Mac or not. So, I don’t have many reasons to share for my decision. McMaster just felt comfortable, and I was excited when I researched the nursing program more and more.

Remember the excitement about the program that I mentioned earlier? Ya, that turned into fear fairly quickly entering university. Going into a new program where you don’t know anyone is scary and trying to find your footing can be difficult because it seems like everyone else is seven steps ahead of you. Fortunately, as the semester advanced, I started getting the hang of the program. The classes were intense, and there was a lot to study but, the faculty was always there for support, and you could tell they cared about their student’s success. You may get a professor that you may not like, but for every professor you dislike, there are three others you’ll love.
Nursing itself is a small program, so you get to know your classmates well and see most of the same people frequently. Classes that were theory and science-based were tough to keep my motivation up throughout. Although, I may be biased because I’m not a fan of studying. Labs, however, were a completely different story. I adored every nursing lab I had because the professors were incredible. Learning hands-on clinical skills in an environment where you feel comfortable asking for help is great. Not to mention, having experienced nurses as professors teaching you about hospital life and sharing their experiences is a lot of fun. Plus, knowing statistics is the only math I have to take helps me sleep better at night.

The Most Important Thing I Learned So Far

Most people applying to Nursing come from academic backgrounds where they are used to setting high expectations for themselves. I came into university with the same mindset; I had to be nothing short of perfect. But this is a mindset you’ll need to change once you become a nursing student. Don’t get me wrong, if you want those high marks, by all means, study hard for them. Still, we’re all human. You’ll inevitably fall short somewhere along during your time at Mac.
When you hit that roadblock, you have got to remember:
1) Accept it. Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t go as expected, because I promise you most of your classmates are experiencing the same thing. If you tried your best, then there’s no need to fixate on the fact it didn’t go as planned. Work out how you can improve next time.
2) Learn from it. Nursing school is the place to make all your mistakes because you have many resources to help you improve. A mistake made now is better than mistakes made when working as a nurse, so don’t be afraid of setbacks. Instead, use them to reflect on what’s difficult for you and work on that. (Don’t worry, you’re just a nursing student, no one expects you to be perfect)
3) Keep going. It might feel like the end of the world the first time you get a bad grade or have trouble with clinical skills. I promise you it’s not. Yes, there are many ups and downs. But, now I feel more confident as a nursing student knowing that no matter what happens, I can pick myself up and keep pushing towards my goal.

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Maheen Nadeem

Maheen Nadeem

McMaster University
2nd Year
Hey, I'm a Level 2 McMaster Nursing student in the basic stream. I was raised in Hamilton but moved before high school to a town called Welland in the Niagara region. Apart from medicine, I also am interested in digital art, English literature, and language studies. A goal I'm passionate about is to be employed after graduation and as for my career path, I've always wanted to work in pediatrics. In the future, I hope to go into post-graduate nursing studies to further my scope of practice.
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