Mina Shahsavar is a fourth-year student in the bachelor of science in nursing program at University of the Fraser Valley and is an employed student nurse at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Submitted photo)

Mina Shahsavar is a fourth-year student in the bachelor of science in nursing program at University of the Fraser Valley and is an employed student nurse at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Submitted photo)

Nursing student in Abbotsford plans for career in critical care

Mina Shahsavar inspired during hospital stays as a child

In recognition of National Nursing Week (May 10 to 16), The Abbotsford News published a special tribute in its Thursday, May 6 edition. This is one of the featured stories.

Mina Shahsavar has wanted to be a nurse since she was a child, and she’s now making that goal a reality.

Shahsavar recently finished her third year of the four-year bachelor of science in nursing program at University of the Fraser Valley, and is an employed student nurse at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

Shahsavar has first-hand experience of the difference that nurses can make in a patient’s life. She was born with congenital heart disease and has had multiple surgeries over the years.

The nurses were the ones who often helped get her through some tough moments.

“The physicians are responsible for the science and getting you through the procedures and making sure you do well in recovery. But the nurses really tend to the holistic picture – your emotions, your psycho-social pieces – when you’re recovering … and taking the time to actually sit and listen to how you’re feeling and work with you to improve your overall health,” she said.

Shahsavar said this has inspired her to want to do the same for others.

After completing her second year of schooling, she was able to apply through Fraser Health as a paid student nurse, working her shifts around her studies.

RELATED: Celebrating Our Nurses special section

These students receive on-the-job experience in partnership with mentor nurses in a variety of departments.

Shahsavar chose the emergency department, working one or two 12-hour shifts a week, because she wanted a challenge and an opportunity to learn a variety of new things in an ever-changing environment.

Doing so in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging.

“Patients are in an increased state of vulnerability because they don’t have their support people with them in the hospital … They really lean on nurses more to fill those voids that they’re experiencing right now while they’re healing,” Shahsavar said.

She said working in emergency has also emphasized the importance of teamwork, and it has been inspiring for her to see how the doctors consult with the nurses to best manage a patient’s care.

Shahsavar said she has been surprised by how invested she has been in her patients, even though she might be with them for only 12 hours.

“That seems like a short period of time, but you actually build these incredible connections with your patients, and to see them deteriorate and to see them recover is really impactful.”

Shahsavar’s goal after completing her bachelor of nursing is to specialize in critical care and work in an intensive care unit.

She said many of her nursing professors have come from a critical care background, and this has motivated her to follow in their footsteps.

Shahsavar said she doesn’t take for granted the crucial role that nurses play in the medical field

“I think that it’s really important that we value the privilege that we have to be in people’s lives … and that we never lose that compassion,” she said.


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