Meet Camille Gallant Scholarship winner
With the support of a Health Council of Canada scholarship in the name of late Councillor Camille Gallant, Megan Bernard is beginning university this fall as a first-year nursing student.
The 17-year-old native of Skinnerís Pond, PEI, who is the recipient of the Health Council of Canadaís J. Camille Gallant scholarship, became interested in a nursing career after taking a summer job at Maplewood Manor, a nursing home in her home province.
"At Maplewood Manor, I spend a lot of time one-on-one (with the elderly residents)," she says. "I just love it when they get a huge smile. They are so happy someone came to see them. It means so much that you can change their lives in some way," says Megan.
Megan wants to add to her affection and enthusiasm for people the knowledge, skills, education and training required for a career in nursing. Her scholarship, which covers tuition for four years of nursing school to a Francophone or bilingual nursing student, will help her do that.
The Health Council of Canada created the scholarship in 2005 to commemorate J. Camille Gallant, a founding Councillor with the Health Council of Canada. Mr. Gallant, a native of Prince Edward Island and an expert in domestic and international health care finance management, passed away in August, 2004.
A French immersion student since kindergarten, Megan recently graduated from Westisle Composite High School in Elmsdale, PEI. Aside from her studies and her work at Maplewood Manor, she was also active in the Students Against Drinking and Driving program. She lives with her father, a lobster fisherman, and says the scholarship will make a big difference.
"When they told me at school that I got the scholarship, I was really, really excited," she says. "(Without the scholarship) it would have been more difficult. It would have meant that I would have to take out a huge loan and then after graduation I would have to pay it all back."
As far as career goals go, Megan says she is interested in exploring the possibility of building on her work with the elderly, but also wants to use her four years at UPEI to learn about all aspects of a nursing career.
"I really like working with the elderly. I may go further into that. I may go into other areas and explore that a little, look at other opportunities," she says.
The coming year will see Megan living away from home for the first time and immersing herself in the beginning of a new career. "It is scary," she says. "But it is all so exciting at the same time."
The Health Council of Canada is, likewise, excited to be able to assist Megan with her studies and help her make a positive contribution to Canadian health care.