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Altruistic leanings

Health advocacy comes naturally to spring nursing graduate

special feature: Class of 2023

The Gazette’s latest special feature celebrates Memorial’s newest alumni.

By Marcia Porter

Spring graduate Adam Smith traces his interest in helping people back to his earliest school days.

He was cast as Santa Claus in his kindergarten Christmas play.

“I watched a video of that play and there was a part where no one was saying their lines,” said Mr. Smith, who is from Spaniards Bay, N.L. “I went over and gave them a little tap and said, ‘It’s your turn, you can go now.’”

Many years have passed, but he says he still sees that altruistic spirit threaded throughout his school career and honed during his four years as a nursing student.

Mr. Smith and his Faculty of Nursing classmates, along with fellow bachelor of science (nursing) graduates from the Centre of Nursing Studies, receive their degrees on Friday, June 2, during the morning session of convocation at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

The following Monday, he’ll put on his nursing uniform and head to work at St. Clare’s Hospital in St. John’s, where he’s already started his post-nursing school career as an emergency room nurse.

Adam Smith stands with his mom in a large lobby at night with a crowd of people behind them.
Adam Smith poses for a photo with his mom following the 2019 crest ceremony of new students.
Photo: Submitted

“When you are an emergency room nurse you are a medical nurse, a surgical nurse, an operating room nurse, an outpatient clinic nurse, everything plus emergencies,” he said. “I love all kinds of nursing and went into emergency room nursing so I could get all kinds of experience.”

Beginning in his first year, something about the emergency room intrigued him, he says.

“I want to use my knowledge and skills to benefit the greater good.” — Adam Smith

But, it wasn’t until his third-year preceptorship course, where students are mentored one-on-one in the clinical setting by an experienced nurse, that he was able to try out his emergency room skills at St. Clare’s.

“What I’ve learned about myself, and about health care, is that I want to use my knowledge and skills to benefit the greater good, in the best way I can.”

Stepping up

During his third year of nursing school, Mr. Smith became president of the Faculty of Nursing Student Society, with fellow students taking on other leadership roles during the pandemic.

“I felt that I needed to step up,” he said. “I’m really proud of the lunch and learn sessions we did, especially the naloxone training. It was really informative, and we trained over 90 people. I’m really proud of that.”

Naloxone is a medication used to reverse or reduce the effects of an opioid overdose.

Students from other faculties were also included in the training; no one was turned away.

“We also had a variety of sessions on different areas of nursing, initiated CPR training on campus and started the peer mentoring program,” said Mr. Smith. “I’ve learned that I love to be an advocate. I’ve learned about assertiveness and how that can be really beneficial. Health care is very much a team dynamic where everyone wants the best for their patient, and you’ve sometimes got to be assertive.”

The text "Spring convocation 2023" is over a claret background with a subtle damask pattern and a gold Memorial coat of arms in the lower right-hand corner.

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