Cassie Palidwor is a student in the bachelor of nursing program offered by University College of the North (UCN) at the Thompson campus. She is currently doing her practicum at the Thompson General Hospital.
She was raised and schooled in the Oakbank area. By the time she was in Grade 12, she was already holding down a job at a Winnipeg pet store, working 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. every morning, then going to school.
When Cassie was 25 she witnessed an older couple roll their car. Emergency services were called, the jaws of life were used, and the driver and his wife were fine. Cassie noticed the commitment of the on-scene paramedics.
While she had loved working with the animals in the pet store, she knew that she would eventually move to a job that was more challenging and more fulfilling. Perhaps a paramedic?
She eventually decided that nursing would offer a more varied career. She enrolled in UCN The Pas, but eventually transferred to Thompson.
Cassie chose to do her on site training in the Thompson emergency room. “I am learning so much, so rapidly. Each day is so different.”
“There is such a need for nurses in rural/northern communities, in the nursing stations. These are all communities which rely heavily on nurses for their healthcare. I want to play a part in helping those communities be healthy and happy.”
“Perhaps later I will go on to get my master’s. I was fortunate to have had UCN professors and facilitators who have changed my life. I would like to be such a person to future students at some time in my life.”
When asked if she really needed this award, Cassie’s answer was immediate, “Yes. It allowed me to focus on my studies. I wanted to learn all I could. I wanted to have the ability to be the best possible nurse for my patients.”
This is the third such bursary given to an Indigenous student by the Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba. It is not a scholarship based only on good grades. It is rather a bursary, specific to a First Nations student. It is meant to be a “hand up, not a handout.” It is administered by UCN.
Guy Hansen is a member of the Retired Teachers Association of Manitoba public relations committee.