Homecoming for SIAST nursing grads

Nathan Liewicki
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Pediatric nurses and SIAST alumni Alice Trusty and Kerry Yaschuk (left) have a conversation with Dean of Nursing Netha Dyck (right) at an alumni meeting at Moose Jaw Union Hospital on Friday afternoon. Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki

Twenty-seven years later, after she finished her nursing studies, Sue Myers is still going strong.

The 1976 Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (SIAST) psychiatric nursing diploma graduate is still involved in the nursing field. She is currently an instructor at SIAST, and holds a high regard for the program that helped get her ready for life after school.

“A lot of it was experiential learning, but I had great mentors and peers that taught me the ropes,” said Myers. “It was a great starting point for me.”

She noted that the program provides tremendous experience to young students right out of the academic gates because they are introduced to clinical work almost immediately.

“You’ll know right away what the program is about,” she noted. “You will get your feet wet right away.”

Myers was one of a handful of former students on hand at a nursing alumni meeting at Moose Jaw Union Hospital on Friday afternoon. The meeting kicked off the program’s second annual alumni homecoming weekend, which will also feature campus tours, a Saturday evening dinner and brunch Sunday afternoon.

Dean of Nursing, Dr. Netha Dyck, was also on hand at the meeting to converse with former graduates.

“It’s important to connect with our alumni and thank them for their service,” noted Dyck. ”They have made valuable contributions in the profession of nursing and an impression on the students.”

Alice Trusty is another alumni member who has been making contributions to the professions for many years. She graduated from SIAST’s nursing program in 1977 with her certified nursing assistant diploma – later completing her registered nursing degree in 1980.

Her advice to young people contemplating applying for entry into nursing at SIAST is first and foremost to make sure you like people and care about them. She also advises new and incoming students to make sure they don’t isolate themselves.

“Make sure you scope out all area of nursing because that will expose you to more things in the field,” she said.

Kerry Yaschuk agreed with Trusty. A graduate herself back in 1989, Yaschuk, like Trusty, now works as a pediatric nurse.  She remembers spending time in various hospital wards — medical surgery, psychiatric nursing, home care — and noted that students should explore different areas of the profession before choosing one area to pursue.

“I remember how heavy and intense the work was in clinical, but I was so fresh and loaded with lots of knowledge that I just felt so prepared when I started working,” said Yaschuk. 

Across the province there are roughly 500 students in various nursing fields studying at SIAST. 

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.

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