Tyson Forsyth from Alberton is now a student in the Holland College Practical Nursing program in Charlottetown.
He has found his right career path, after discovering that university wasn’t right for him at the time.
“When making career decisions, it is not about your gender, it is not about what others think you should do, it is about finding the right path that fits,” says Tyson.
He graduated from high school in 2013. “Back then, all I knew about my interests was that I was good at science and I always wanted to be in the helping profession.
“I entered university right away and loved the experience, but hated that I had no career direction. I didn’t feel I was in the right place. I switched to kinesiology, but that too was not a fit for me. At that point, I took a step back to consider my options and what I really wanted to do.
“I came back to the idea of the helping profession, and I knew I didn’t want to go back to university. Practical Nursing seemed perfect.
“When I started the program, I fell in love with the profession in the first month. When I started the clinical portion of the program, everything was a fit. I am now passionately driven. My friends get annoyed, because I talk about my training all the time.”
Message for youth and those exploring career options
Tyson says he needed some time to make a solid career decision. He felt pushed into going to university when he was not ready and did not see a path to a future career. “I find that university is promoted too much, and college is not brought up enough. But I am living proof that there should be more career options and directions discussed in high school.
“I also think we need to discuss how career paths are not always a straight line, especially when we are not sure what career we are heading for. I don’t regret starting university and finding out it wasn’t the right move for me, but I do regret the debt that came along with it.”
He loved school, but he realized he needed to see a connection between learning and a career. Now that he can see a future in this profession, he can imagine continuing on to a Bachelor of Nursing degree.
“I feel for students who don’t like school, and don’t want to consider post-secondary, because they think it is all about university. Now I realize that college is a solid choice. It is both learning in the classroom and being hands-on by putting what you learn into action. The Holland College instructors have years of experience working in the field, and they have first-hand knowledge of the skills required and the employment options.
“To succeed in a college program, you have to work hard, you need to have taken high school courses that line up with the program of interest, and you have to maintain your marks while in the program.”
He also found out the college offers upgrading through Adult Education, which can help prepare students who may not have picked the right courses in high school.
How can you work out the right career plan?
“Don’t be afraid to take time to make the right decision for you. Step back and figure it out. Don’t just focus on the jobs that pay the big bucks, because it’s more important to be doing something you like and that suits you. It is good to take others’ advice, but don’t make a decision based on pressure. Base it on what triggers your passion and abilities.”
“I am now aware of the many resources and help out there to work out a plan. After the difficult experience at university, I looked hard at my choices to make sure I wasn’t making another mistake. I wasn’t going to jump into something that I would regret.
“There is pressure to go directly into post-secondary after high school. But there is nothing wrong with taking the time to think things through and working while exploring your options.”
Future work prospects?
Tyson loves children, so he is considering pediatrics, but he is not narrowing down his options yet, because there may be other areas that may spark his interest. “Now that I can see a future in this profession, I can imagine continuing on to a Bachelor of Nursing degree as well.
“I have heard the work options on PEI are good, especially for males. There is always a cry for nurses, even though there are waves of hiring that go up and down. It will mean casual positions at first, and I am fine with that.
Example of work options
Acute Mental Health Services within Health PEI is one example where Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) can be employed.
“LPNs working in Acute Mental Health Services have a strong role in collaboration with the interdisciplinary team, with the focus of utilizing their full scope of practice,” says Kathy Anderson, Director of Nursing, Hillsborough Hospital.
“Unit 9 at QEH, Unit 3 at Hillsborough Hospital, Prince County Hospital inpatient Mental Health Unit, and McGill Community Mental Health offer designated positions for male LPNs.”
Advice for others
“At the end of the day, it is not about what the teachers, your parents, or your friends want. You have to choose something you have a passion for, and you need to love what you do. It is your dream and your future.”
About the program
The Practical Nursing program is offered in Charlottetown and Summerside. “We have 48 students enrolled in the Practical Nursing program in Charlottetown,” says Christie Lougheed Bambrick, PN Learning Manger. “This year, there are six males in first or second year. The number of males in our program has remained relatively unchanged over the last number of years.”
Also, Holland College and UPEI have an articulation agreement. Graduates receive one year of credit toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Students must have achieved a minimum of average of 80% in the Holland College Practical Nursing program. Students must complete the following prerequisite university courses prior to entry at UPEI: Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology or equivalent, Psychology 101 and Psychology 102.
For more information about Holland College Practical Nursing program, visit www.hollandcollege.com/programs.