Nursing degree dream come true for VIU grad

June 5, 2012 - 2:00am

When Aiyaz Asmin Nisha walked across the stage Monday to accept her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, she was thinking about the community donor who helped turn her dream into reality.

Asmin Nisha will be forever grateful for receiving an Excellence in Nursing Award worth $5,000 from Nanaimo philanthropist Sidney Sharman.

“Words cannot express how thankful I am,” said Asmin Nisha, among 300-plus Vancouver Island University graduates at Monday’s spring convocation at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre.

“Receiving the award reduced my financial worries and allowed me to focus on my studies,” Asmin Nisha said. “To say ‘thank you’ to Mr. Sharman just doesn’t seem like enough.”

In 2009, Sharman became VIU’s largest private donor, giving $1-million to create six annual Excellence in Nursing awards worth $5,000 each.

News she had received one of the awards in 2011 came at a time when Asmin Nisha was struggling to make ends meet.

Originally from the Fiji Islands, Asmin immigrated to Canada several years ago, settling in Surrey.

After moving to Nanaimo, Asmin Nisha enrolled in VIU’s Adult Basic Education program to upgrade math 11 and 12, and science 12. She completed VIU’s Licenced Practical Nursing program in 2005 and landed a job at Trillium Lodge care home in Parksville.

A supervisor encouraged her to pursue a nursing degree. Asmin Nisha enrolled in VIU’s four-year degree program in 2007, continuing to work at Trillium during the first year of studies.

Asmin Nisha said she “cried and cried” when she received the letter confirming she would receive the $5,000 nursing award. “I re-read the letter 10 times,” she said. “It took such a huge financial load off my mind. I couldn’t believe it.”

Asmin Nisha had the chance to meet Sidney Sharman in a person at a luncheon for award recipients. “I told him how much the award meant to me. Today, I want to tell him again that this scholarship has made a huge difference in my life and helped me reach my goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.”

On Wednesday this week, Asmin writes the final Registered Nursing exam and is set to start a full-time job in Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s cardiology and renal care unit on June 11.

“It’s a huge relief to have completed my four-year degree program and exciting to know that I have a job with the Vancouver Island Health Authority for at least a year,” said Asmin Nisha. “I am so happy, and so very grateful. It’s wonderful to know that all my hard work and hours spent studying in the VIU library has paid off.”

Asmin Nisha’s graduation day was made even more special by having her family attend Monday’s ceremony. “They were all such a great support to me,” she said, “and so were my instructors at VIU. I had faith and a belief in myself, in my instructors and in the Nursing program.

“I encourage anyone thinking about a nursing career to just do it. If I can do it, anyone can.”

Tags: In the Community

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