But next spring, she’ll graduate from Red River College’s Bachelor of Nursing program at the Winkler Campus. Having the accessible option to study and train in her home community — without needing to move or commute to Winnipeg — is what she says gave her the chance to do it.
In 2014, Dueck took the first steps to becoming a college student by enrolling at RRC’s Winkler Community Learning Centre (WCLC) to receive her high school diploma.
“The instructors were very supportive — and the fact that it was self-directed was helpful. The flexibility to be able to come during the day or during the evening — there was always somebody there to answer questions and help,” she says.
Not long after Dueck graduated from the WCLC, RRC announced it would be permanently delivering its Nursing program in Winkler and Portage la Prairie beginning in Fall 2018.
“I quickly applied and I got in,” she says. “I did my anatomy and physiology, psychology, stats, pretty much all of the prerequisites were available in Winkler, which was amazing.”
Now 31, Dueck had been working jobs in customer service, fitness and hospitality — which allowed her to make a positive impact on people’s daily lives — when her husband, Albert, planted the seed in her mind that she might enjoy being a nurse.
“I ended up working in a care home and I really fell in love with taking care of people and making a difference,” she says. “My husband is my biggest fan, he’s actually a firefighter and he feels very passionate about helping people. He’s the one that has been pushing me to do more — I feel like he’s my cheerleader and the person that nudges me to push myself beyond what I thought I could do.”
During her time at RRC, Dueck says she’s felt encouraged and that she’s learning a lot from the local health-care community. Many of her instructors, fellow students and work placement hosts are from Winkler, which has allowed her to expand her local support network.
“The community aspect of it is super important to me,” she explains. “My clinicals thus far have been in facilities that I want to work in when I graduate. So to get hands-on experience and build those relationships is a huge benefit, because you’re able to show your future employer what you’re able to do.”
Dueck says her goal after graduation is to remain in the community, growing her skills in nursing — but her future is wide open.
“I don’t have any set plans on furthering my education at this point but might take a master’s program to become a nurse practitioner, and I like the idea of being a travel nurse to broaden my experience if that’s an option post-COVID,” she says. “Having a degree in nursing opens a lot of doors.”
Learn more about programs offered at RRC’s Winkler Campus.