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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Nursing graduate in residency at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University

Zoe Griese only Canadian in Vanderbilt’s Nurse Residency program

2015 graduate Zoe Griese (UOIT-DC Bachelor of Science in Nursing collaborative program) prepares for a shift in the Pediatric Cardiology unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
2015 graduate Zoe Griese (UOIT-DC Bachelor of Science in Nursing collaborative program) prepares for a shift in the Pediatric Cardiology unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

For decades, Nashville, Tennessee has perhaps been best known as the undisputed capital of the U.S. music industry. But since the late 19th century, Nashville has also been home to Vanderbilt – one of the top private research universities and medical centres in the United States. ‘Music City’ is also a fair hike from Oshawa, Ontario, some 1,300 kilometres to the south.

But Tennessee – and Vanderbilt – is where 2015 graduate Zoe Griese now finds herself. Only a few months after graduating from the collaborative University of Ontario Institute of Technology-Durham College (UOIT-DC) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours) program located in the UOIT Faculty of Health Sciences. Griese is one of just 50 individuals – and the only Canadian – chosen for the prestigious Nurse Residency program at the highly regarded Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt (VCH).

“I was looking for pediatric nursing opportunities and I wasn't having much luck in Ontario, so I knew I needed to broaden my horizons,” says Griese. “Just days after Convocation I was interviewed by VCH and I was hired on July 8. I am the only nurse in the cohort to be placed on the VCH Pediatric Cardiology unit, which is in fact my absolute passion and where I was hoping to work.”

VCH creates a platform for transitioning from a student nurse to a registered nurse. A preceptor (experienced nurse), works directly with students over the first two months and supports them into a more independent role as a registered nurse to provide care for an individual patient load. Griese believes she would not be where she is today without the experiential learning gained during her UOIT degree.

“The UOIT program offered theoretical knowledge, practical skills and the moral compass to be competent and knowledgeable in any environment,” says Griese. “Real-life situations are often very different was what a textbook says. UOIT’s Nursing program provided the tools to think critically and know how to act in unfamiliar and challenging patient scenarios. In the simulation labs and the clinical rotations, the professors took the time to make sure you understood the theory behind a task and had the skill to perform it to the best of your ability.”

A day in the life of the VCH pediatric cardiology unit requires the capability to critically think and do it quickly. It requires thoroughly assessing each patient, meticulously observing for any abnormalities, constantly reviewing charts, and also establishing a strong connection families to understand the goals they have for their child.

“Typically my patients are under the age of two who have recently recovered from cardiac surgery or a procedure to fix a congenital heart defect. There is a daily routine, yet every day can be different and unpredictable. There are those sudden moments when patients and families touch your heart. I always have to be on the ball and well-prepared for anything, and it’s a challenge I totally love!”

A graduate of O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, Ontario, Griese says she chose the UOIT-DC program because of its strong reputation, small class sizes and the individualized support. But she also had a very personal reason for choosing to go into Nursing.

“I was drawn to this program after the passing of my brother Jake in 2010 at the age of just 23. It was at this time that I realized I wanted to help patients and families in the same capacity that the nurses assisted our family in our time of need. We all have the ability to make a difference in one person's life, no matter how big or small. If I can do something to help a patient or family in any way, I am content with that.”