A Quick Study with Kirk Settle
About A Quick Study
This ongoing series is aimed at getting to know what motivates and inspires UBC students about their learning — inside and outside the classroom.
On self-care, moderation, the positive influence of friends, George Ezra and Hozier, and the benefits of real-life clinical experience.
Meet Kirk Settle, UBC Bachelor of Nursing Science Program.
KS: UBC’s Bachelor of Nursing Science Program is an incredible feat. In only 18 months, you go from Science Geek to full-blown Registered Nurse, making it the most accelerated Nursing Program of its kind in Canada. As someone who intended on becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP) since my early 20s, I’ve planned on applying for UBC Nursing since my early 20s, but this Program is very competitive. I finished up my prerequisite Science degree on the Vancouver campus, applied nationwide in the hopes of receiving an offer from anywhere, and after two years was fortunate enough to receive a couple from UBC and UofT Nursing. I loved UBC since I first came here after high school ages ago, so I had to stick with my beautiful and familiar Alma Mater. I’m very satisfied with my choice thus far, and with graduation now on the horizon I have no expectations of my mood changing by then.
How did you become involved with the Undergrad Nursing Society?
KS: It was totally on a whim! The elections for our NUS took place at a time last year when our Nursing class was bogged down with nightmarish extremes of homework and clinical. With morale plummeting to Marianas’ Trench depths, the last thing on our minds at the time was extra-curricular work. Hence, only a couple of positions were gauging interest from us at first. I had some experience in leadership roles before the program, so after lots of peer motivation and some help from my massive superiority complex I decided to run for the Presidency. In the end an election and vote actually was needed, but I did emerge from it with my current role and it’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. It just so happens my cohort’s an amazing one, so even with the added grey hairs from the additional workload it’s been a blast accomplishing great things with this group of people.
What does ‘staying healthy’ mean to you?
KS: We’re plagued by statistics all of the time that discuss how unhealthy Western Society is. Yes, over half of us have one or more chronic illnesses, and obesity is a major health concern even in ‘Yoga-Pants-and-Greek-Yogurt VanCity’. However, these stats tend to overshadow key aspects of health like mindfulness and well-being. What good is being physically active, and eating in proper moderation when you’re always miserable or stressed? Staying healthy to me means an emphasis on self-care and ensuring that you know how to respond to your body’s cues with moderation. If you feel like jumping head-first into a fence post, perhaps it’s time to let yourself relax and hop on YouTube or Netflix for a bit. Always find the time to see a movie, hang out with friends, and check out what’s happening in the city. Of course, staying healthy does mean physically taking care of yourself as well, so be sure to exercise and maintain your medical and dental checkups. Happiness can help you achieve great things, but probably won’t unclog that artery on its own.
What’s some advice you would give to future nursing or medical students?
KS: I’m certainly no medical student, but I do have a couple of friends in the midst of their 3rd and 4th year who consistently provide the same advice to freshmen: enjoy yourselves, while you still can. The final two years before residency are apparently horrific in terms of workload, and many regret not enjoying themselves enough at the beginning of the Program when the pace was more reasonable.
As for you Nursing students: congrats on making the right choice!!
Seriously though, any student entering UBC Nursing (or any nursing program for that matter) is strongly encouraged to rely on peers and faculty for the necessary support to come out as a partially-seared Graduate (instead of a rotisserie). I have become discouraged a few times and fallen behind on curricula, but have always had a support structure that kept a collective eye on me and provided help when I needed it. You will have a miserable time becoming an RN in only 1.5 years without support from your peers and structures. Otherwise, if you have a passion for nursing and know this is your career, you will certainly succeed in the program with that attitude.
Is there anyone who inspires you to pursue what you love? How have they influenced you?
KS: I can’t say there is one person in particular that drives me. My parents and the rest of my family have always supported me throughout my goofy endeavors; nearly all of my choices and decisions have been passed by my Ma and Pa, and their advice has always helped me stay on track (even though ‘Space Pirate’ is still a lingering afterthought). Many friends of mine are available to monitor mental stability on my behalf. I also have friends who graduated as nurses well before I made it to this program; they consistently advocated for the NP role over other excellent careers in Medicine and Pharmacy, and I cannot thank them enough for influencing me up to this point. Finally, I’ve always been surrounded by a driven group of people- be they lifelong friends or UBC colleagues- that continuously provide the motivation to push harder. If you want to succeed, then simply surround yourself with the right people. You’d be amazed how well you’ll progress just by keeping up with the pace.
What’s on your playlist these days?
KS: Oh boy. Well, asides from the Billboard 100 Pop drivel the world (and I) are too guilty to say what is hiding on their phone, there are a couple alternative tracks I’ve had on nonstop repeat lately. Florence + The Machine recently played here in Van, and though we’ve all heard a couple of their tracks, their albums are wickedly consistent; check out What Kind of Man (beware: the music video’s a shocker) and You’ve Got the Love. George Ezra and Hozier occasionally sound identical, so I might as well include them both; for George check out Blame it on Me and Listen to the Man, and have a listen to Hozier’s Someone New, Work Song, and From Eden (because you’re undoubtedly sick of Take me to Church by now, right?). Finally, The Boom Booms are a local band that’s never failed to impress, and recently killed it at a Commodore showing; check out their full album Love is Overdue.
Why is it important to put the skills you’re learning at UBC into life real practice?
KS: Nursing is a very, very hands-on profession, as I’m sure you’ve heard through the many bodily-fluid related experiences that nurses seem hell-bent on sharing. I imagine without the 1200 hours of real-life clinical and hundreds of part-time Employed Student Nurse hours I’d have absolutely no idea what I was doing in the hospital! The same goes for giving flu shots and other medications. Though they’re generally easy to administer, mistakes can still happen without ample practice like poor landmarking or unnecessary amounts of pain at the injection site. Like many other aspects of nursing, it takes the right mix of practical and theoretical education to appropriately utilize the skill. Luckily, I happen to have a month of test subjects signing up for our UBC Flu Clinics to perfect my trade, so by the end of the month I can’t imagine I’ll be saying “oops” too often.
Anyone can get the flu no matter how young, fit and healthy they are. Why is it important to get the flu shot and how else can students protect themselves from the flu?
KS: It’s true, the flu shot is not 100% effective because of the unpredictability of influenza strains, which can discourage people from getting one at all; however, it is still statistically the best way to prevent yourself from getting infected with the 3 common forms of influenza. The immunization also minimizes your chance of spreading it to others, like children or the elderly who are more at risk for severe complications from the flu bug. Plus, come on now, a needle is nothing compared to spending two days straight hunched over the mighty ceramic throne!
There are certainly other methods alongside the flu shot to help you prevent yourself and others from becoming infected though. It’s a given that you must constantly wash your hands with hot water. Just do it all the time! Like… why aren’t you washing your hands?! DO IT! You can also keep your immune system at its peak with the right balance of exercise, moderated eating, and stress levels; imbalances in any of these can negatively affect your immunity and compromise your defenses against the flu bug. If you have to sneeze or cough, contain it by coughing into your shoulder or elbow rather than embracing those around you with airborne bacterial gifts. My most valuable tip though is to spend all winter keeping your hands as far from your face as possible, especially your eyes. Though many rub their eyes without even knowing it, this is a common entryway for influenza and can be easily avoided.