At Sprott Shaw, we are proud to introduce and highlight another one of our amazing Sprott Shaw Heroes, Jessica Roberts. Jessica is currently a Practical Nursing student from our Kelowna campus who received an opportunity in the face adversity that she could not pass up.
Three years ago, Jessica moved to Canada from the United Kingdom by herself at the age of 19. In the United Kingdom, nursing is different, which is why she never pursued it back at home.
For her, starting nursing school here was a challenge as she needed to wait nearly 12 months to begin as she was not a Permanent Resident at the time. When she went to see Tammy, an advisor at Sprott Shaw, she was still on a work permit, so she wasn’t eligible for a student loan through the BC Student Loan Program.
While it was hard for Jessica to patiently wait as this was something she has always wanted to do for the longest time, but she waited it out, and it paid off. In August of 2019, she became a Permanent Resident in Canada, and on the same day she found out, she phoned Tammy and said, “it’s go time!” She then was able to start her nursing education in October of 2019 as she was eligible for a student loan! It was challenging for her to be from the United Kingdom as she had to complete all her prerequisites here as her grades in the United Kingdom did not carry over. However, as she says, “the wait was the hardest, but it was worth every minute.”
Flash forward a few months, as a result of unprecedented circumstances, Jessica was laid off from her part-time role in a salon. However, this turn of events was truly a blessing in disguise as Jessica saw another opportunity open for her – not to mention, one that was relevant to the career she wants to pursue.
While searching for part-time work, she stumbled upon a job
listing at Glenmore Lodge that was hiring for a housekeeper. Shortly after
applying, she received a phone call offering her an interview for the role of
Care Support Assistant instead due to her current experience and education in
our Practical Nursing program. Sienna Senior Living, Glenmore Lodge’s parent
organization, believed that the role of Care Support Assistant was much more
suited to Jessica’s knowledge and skill set and after an interview, offered her
So today, Jessica is happily a Care Support Assistant at
Sienna Senior Living, helping and supporting the residents with their
activities of daily living (ADL).
An Average Day as a Care Support Assistant
For Jessica, an average day at work begins with the morning
report from the Nurse and Health Care Aides. After this, she helps out with
breakfast by feeding and serving meals to the residents. Once breakfast is over
and while the residents relax, Jessica and her colleagues clean up and set up
By the time set up is done, lunchtime is here and Jessica
helps feed and serve the residents who need help again. Often times, she will
also make the residents’ bed, help the Health Care Aide get the supplies ready,
and sit with the residents when they are getting ready for the day and engage
in conversation to help ease the embarrassment some residents may feel.
During quiet times, Jessica will often sit with the
residents, read them books, or help them phone their families. With the warm
spring weather recently, she also enjoys taking some of the residents out
one-by-one for a quick stroll in the courtyard so they can enjoy the fresh
smells and sounds of spring.
The Best Part of Being a Care Support Assistant
Jessica’s favourite part of being a Care Support Assistant is
the chance to make a difference in the residents’ day. Now more than ever, they
are lonely and scared about what is happening in the world today. So, Jessica
loves that she can bring a smile to their faces on a bad day or encourage them
to speak to their loved ones.
Jessica also loves the experience she is gaining from this
role. As a current Level 2 Practical Nursing student, she is learning about the
gerontological population (seniors and the elderly) in class. Much of what she
has learned in class now makes sense as she sees the long-term diseases and
interacts with the residents who have diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,
and dementia. She also feels fortunate to work alongside supportive Licensed
Practical Nurses who are always offering advice and helpful tips. For Jessica,
one of the best feelings coming home after work is the satisfaction that she
made a positive difference in someone’s life.
When asked for a few last words, this is what she had to say,
“Working is a necessity for myself and I could not think of a more perfect
job role and facility to work at during the next 12 months of my nursing
program. I love the thought of being able to progress within the company and
having this experience alongside school. Already during this class, I am
noticing the difference as I am able to now picture the specific diseases being
mentioned, or know what interventions to write in a care plan as I seem them in
Thank you, Jessica, for your compassion and kindness as you
change the lives of the residents and colleagues you work with!