Health Care Assistant program Sonya Kanta-Nair graduation

When passion and career come together: How her father’s life-changing accident helped Sonya find her passion

Sonya Kanta-Nair is an inspiration to others to chase their dreams. Despite being new to Canada with a newborn, she pursued her passion to work in healthcare. 

For some, passion is a lifelong endeavour. For others, it’s a result of life experience. For Sonya, it was life experience that informed her passion.

WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED 

Sonya’s dad had an influential role in her career.

During the last year of her Business Diploma in New Zealand, Sonya received a phone call from her sister that changed everything. Her father had been in a life-altering construction accident at work. She rushed to the hospital to find him surrounded by a team of healthcare professionals, working frantically to stop the bleeding in his leg. “It was awful. My dad was in a lot of pain. They did everything they could but couldn’t save his leg. 

It was very touching to see the level of care they provided for my dad. Being there every morning before I went to class inspired me.”

The entire family was shaken by the incident. Sonya’s father had worked hard to support their family and seeing him in that condition was difficult. She spent a lot of time in the hospital with him and it changed her perspective on life. Sonya’s sister shares, “Out of all the siblings, Sonya was the one who spent the most time with dad. She would bathe him, even after the healthcare workers had, if it didn’t meet her expectations. Sonya’s loving and caring nature inspires all of us.”

My father’s accident made me realize that I had more to offer. My dad always wanted one of his children to be in the medical field.

Sonya Kanta-Nair

Business didn’t have the same attraction for her that it once had. “The accident made me realize that I had more to offer. My dad always wanted one of his children to be in the medical field.”

ON THE HORIZON 

Change was on the horizon. However, a career change was not in the cards just yet. Sonya completed her diploma and worked in an accounting firm. She fell in love, got married and moved to Canada to be with her husband. They were expecting their first child. Life was good. Then, COVID hit.

Now a Health Care Assistant, Sonya is fulfilling her passion of caring for others.

COVID affected the world in many ways. Mostly negative. However, one thing that became clear was how important quality healthcare is, especially for older adults. It showed us the vulnerability of seniors, and how deeply they need care. Ever resilient, Sonya turned an obstacle into an opportunity. She decided to go back to school and pursue her passion. 

While researching programs, Sonya came across Stenberg College’s six-month Health Care Assistant Diploma. “I was seven months pregnant when I reached out to a Program Advisor at Stenberg. Ever since my dad’s accident, working in healthcare was on my mind, and this was the right time. This was my opportunity to answer my calling.” 

ANSWERING HER CALLING 

Sonya’s determination helped her succeed in the program and ace her exams, all while taking care of her baby. One instructor, Ayne Cammayo, LPN, said, “Sonya is a full-time mom, but she always came to class smiling and excited to learn. She was energetic and willing to take on new challenges, all while raising a newborn.”

Sonya was hired right out of practicum by The Village Langley, an assisted living facility for people with dementia. The interactions with patients that Sonya had on her first day of practicum confirmed her belief that this is where she belonged. “It’s a beautiful thing when passion and career come together. I’m so glad that I didn’t give up. It’s changed how I look at myself.” 

Working in healthcare, I get to hold my patients’ hands, and I am able to provide comfort to them and their families. I am so grateful that I can touch their lives as they touch mine.

Sonya Kanta-Nair

Health and Wellness Manager at The Village Langley, Lisa Yarosloski, RPN, commends Sonya, “She could be seen attending to household chores in the kitchen, while chatting away to villagers and staff. It is obvious to me that Sonya has a calling to care for vulnerable individuals and will make a difference in the lives of her patients.”

When asked about her future, Sonya shares that she wants to eventually become a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse, and continue to make a difference in people’s lives. “Working in healthcare, I get to hold my patients’ hands, and I am able to provide comfort to them and their families. I am so grateful that I can touch their lives as they touch mine.”

“Providing care comes naturally to me. To be able to do that every day is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” says a very content Sonya. “I work in healthcare, and I can proudly say, ‘Dad, I made it!’ I have made my parents, in-laws, husband, son and everyone in my family very proud.”


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