Thursday, 11 June 2015 06:35

Nursing student earns prestigious medal

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Lorna Waterhouse stands with Michael Gillespie, Interim VP president, Academics for MHC. Lorna Waterhouse stands with Michael Gillespie, Interim VP president, Academics for MHC. Photo contributed

Lorna Waterhouse is the epitome of what you tell a person who is thinking of a different career path, but has reservations: be focused, work hard — it is possible.


Waterhouse earned her Practical Nurse diploma from the Medicine Hat College last week which is a big enough accomplishment, but she did it in style.
Waterhouse, a mature student, deservedly earned the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medal which is awarded to the student who receives the highest overall average upon graduation.
According to a media release, the medal was created in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation.
Although she worked extremely hard for her diploma, but was humble about the special recognition.
"I was surprised I received it," Waterhouse said of the Governor General's Award. "I am a little bit older and I had been reading up on a few things. I downloaded some applications and (here she is)."
Graduates of nursing related fields had a special ceremony at the college's Erseman Theatre June 4. The main convocation ceremonies with the major award announcements took place June 5 at the convocation ceremonies in the gymnasium.
Waterhouse’s key to success was simple:she was diligent in her studies and took it quite seriously. Winning the Governor General's Medal was no fluke. The college reported she not only attained the President’s Honor Roll and College Honor Roll but also the Practical Nurse First Year Program Award and Second Year Award during her studies.
Added to that, Waterhouse has received numerous financial awards including the Heritage Trust Fund for the Louise McKinney Scholarship, Willma Lawson Rodgers Nursing Award, the Community Donors Endowment Award and the Brooks Campus Alumni Fund.
Waterhouse, who had a diploma from the Northern Institute of Technology in Edmonton, decided with children out of the home, she would forge ahead with something new. She was a computer technician for seven years and worked mostly on Heward Packard computers. However, she settled down and proudly raised a family with her husband.
More than two decades later, she wanted to get back to working outside the home. She decided that she would like to get into nursing. Waterhouse didn't mind fixing computers, but admitted to enjoying "no lasting satisfaction."
Waterhouse did some reading and investigation and thought the Medicine Hat College's program was an option.
Waterhouse agrees with the suggestion that maybe having gone through the post secondary routine once was one reason for her focus but added that she noticed those who had to pay for their own education’s were that much more focused.
She lived in residence in Brooks away from her home, which in itself was an interesting experience for her. She enjoyed her time there and said the community and the campus are unique.
Waterhouse notes that she was a homebody compared to some of her fellow classmates.
"Since I was there (away from home) and not looking for some parties and such I had time to (quietly) study," explained Waterhouse. 
Waterhouse has found a job within the nursing field and is pleased with the results of her education. The excitement of learning, earning a job and working and learning from some great co-workers Waterhouse is enjoying herself. But it does beg the question: How does one go from fixing computers to nursing and dealing with a lot of unpleasant aspects of the human body such as inoculations and other unpleasant things.
She chuckled a bit.
"I enjoy doing it, I kinda of like that ooey-gooey stuff," she noted. "Raising and keeping up with five kids, all of that doesn't bother me. I've seen a lot."
Waterhouse encourages those who are unsure if they can go back to school, they absolutely can and suggests the put in their applications now.
"I was a good experience for me," she added.

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Ryan Dahlman

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