In 2020, when the pandemic swept across the globe, our familiar world underwent an unfamiliar transformation. Schools and businesses transitioned online, shops were closed, and the public found themselves with an unexpected amount of personal time. Many used this time to rediscover and challenge themselves, pushing for more. Such is the story of 27-year-old Ashley Singh. Despite finding love in one career, she returned to Stenberg College for a second time to grow in the healthcare industry and continue contributing to the community for which she cares deeply.
Growing up, Ashley’s parents did what many immigrant parents do: they worked tirelessly to support their family and create a new life in Canada. They worked long hours in the food industry, leaving Ashley and her brother to be raised predominantly under the loving care of their grandparents. Ashley’s close relationships with her grandparents instilled in her a true love for seniors. When they passed away, Ashley turned her grief into purpose, and decided to pursue a career as a Therapeutic Recreation Assistant (TRA), supporting seniors like her grandparents to continue to lead fulfilling lives.
In 2016, Ashley began the TRA program at Stenberg College. She graduated with an outstanding 94% grade point average (GPA) and quickly began working. The work was healing for Ashley. She says, “I entered the profession because I lost my grandparents, and once I started working, it felt like I gained 150 grandparents.”
I entered the profession (TRA) because I lost my grandparents, and once I started working, it felt like I gained 150 grandparents.
LOOKING FOR A CHANGE
Once the pandemic struck, the course of Ashley’s life changed. Due to health regulations, the government announced that people working at seniors’ homes could only work at one location. Ashley, who was used to working in multiple centres, had to reduce her workload tremendously. Spending so much time alone forced her to self-reflect. She realized that she wanted to push herself for more, something Ashley knew she was capable of. Having recently learned about the vital role Nursing Unit Clerks (NUCs) play in the medical field, she could see herself thriving in this rewarding career.
It didn’t take long for Ashley to jump into action. She did her research and found that Stenberg offered a NUC program, and decided that her familiarity of Stenberg would help with the career transition. Without a doubt, she enrolled. In early 2022, Ashley began the program.
FINDING NEW SUCCESS
While it was the time spent alone during COVID-19 that pushed Ashley to discover she wanted a new challenge, it was her intelligence, commitment to learning, and support system that helped her excel in the Nursing Unit Clerk program. It was not just her family, whom she values and prioritizes above all else, that pushed her to succeed. Her best friend, who was in law school in Victoria, opened her home on multiple occasions so that she and Ashley could study together. They motivated and supported each other through their educational journeys. Additionally, although Ashley’s romantic relationship was new at the time, her boyfriend’s support became pivotal to her success.
It shows how much I enjoyed Stenberg that I decided to come back. The program and instructors were amazing.
Ashley did remarkably well in the program, graduating with a 97% GPA. “It shows how much I enjoyed Stenberg that I decided to come back. The program and instructors were amazing. I loved that I could do it online because I still needed to work. That freedom was life changing.”
Her instructor, Kathleen MacLeod, says, “Ashley is one of those students who lifts a cohort just by being in the class. Her drive, determination, kindness, leadership, resourcefulness, and organization contributed to her success as a student.”
Ashley is one of those students who lifts a cohort just by being in the class.
Due to her work ethic and success in the program, Ashley had the opportunity to do a practicum placement at Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department doing patient registration. She was also placed at Royal Columbian Hospital’s Cardiac Unit. Ashley naturally excelled in both, saying there wasn’t one day when she felt like she couldn’t do her job.
FINALLY FEELING AT HOME
Ashley knew she had made the right decision during practicum, when she walked into the hospital and realized she felt right at home. Her heart belonged here; this was her true calling.
Ashley currently holds a full-time position as a clerk with Community Respiratory Services and plans to eventually work in a hospital. She also continues working as a TRA part time to honour her grandparent’s legacy. In both roles, Ashley makes a difference in the healthcare system and positively impacts the lives of people in her community. It’s safe to say that we need more people like Ashley Singh.