Nursing student brings her care and compassion to front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic

Nursing student Breanne Drennan

Breanne Drennan returned to college looking to shift into a career with a focus on human connections. She found it in the Practical Nursing program, in the people she’s caring for during her placement and in the community of her fellow students, professors, and mentors. 

“I’ve been motivated by the intelligence of the women around me. I’m really enjoying the program,” she said. “What’s been impressed upon me is the privilege of doing this type of profession. It’s an honour to be there during a person’s most vulnerable time and be able to help them.” 

“For me, my biggest purpose in life, my biggest goal, is connecting with others, and I want to show up with an energy that nurtures and supports and inspires. I really believe I can do that through nursing.” 

On the front line of COVID-19 

Breanne is in her second year of the program, and she's currently doing her placement at a long-term care facility where she’s witnessing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults. 

“The isolation is devastating for seniors. There's isolation from their loved ones, but also the physical barrier from people in the form of the PPE (personal protective equipment) we must wear,” she said.  

COVID-19 has highlighted flaws and inequalities in the health care system that need to be examined, Breanne says, and it has also solidified her priorities as a health care professional. 

“Being able to show your patients that you hear them and value them, and bringing your energy to them raises the level of care we provide—that’s the kind of model I want to work toward in health care.” 

Finding support and inspiration in other women 

Breanne maintains excellent grades in a very demanding program while also managing a very busy family life with small children. She is quick to highlight her personal support network of her sister, mom and husband. And she points to the inspiration she finds in her fellow students. 

“Fellow colleagues of mine in the program come from more challenging situations, and they’ve motivated me to be in their league,” she said. “I have one particular friend and I often ask myself what she would do. She’s a very hard worker. I think that’s what helps keep me motivated in this program.” 

Nursing student Breanne Drennan holding hand-written sign