Picture of Monica Webb

From childhood burn survivor to nursing graduate

May 27, 2022
Author: Eric Zimmer

Monica Webb’s story has come full circle.

Monica Webb knows first-hand the difference medical professionals can make in someone’s life.

When she was just a year old, she accidentally spilled two bowls of hot soup on herself, suffering second- and third-degree burns to her chin, left hand and chest as a result. Her parents brought her to the hospital, where she was then transferred to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver to undergo further treatment.

“I spent three weeks at BC Children’s undergoing skin grafting and various procedures,” she recalls. “After leaving the hospital, I continued to wear pressure garments for the following year.”

Now, things have come full circle for Monica, who is set to graduate from VIU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program this June.

“My decision to enter nursing school was heavily influenced by my burn injury and attending burn camp with the firefighters and nurses who volunteer their time,” she says. “I wanted a career in which I can give back and help people who need it the most just like I did when I spent those three weeks at BC Children’s Hospital.”

After she graduates, Monica will start her first nursing position on an acute surgical floor at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. She is also giving back through her involvement with the Hometown Heroes Lottery and the BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund.

The Hometown Heroes Lottery supports the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation, raising essential funds for specialized adult health services and research at VGH and UBC, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. Ticket purchases also support Burn Fund programs, including mental health support for burn survivors and firefighters, as well as the Home Away program, which offers accommodations to burn and trauma survivors at the Burn Fund Centre in Vancouver.

“I got involved with Hometown Heroes through the Burn Fund,” says Monica. “The Burn Fund has been a huge support for me growing up and through nursing school."

One of the Burn Fund programs Monica has participated in the most is the annual Burn Camp. The camp is run by doctors, nurses, medical therapists, adult burn survivors and firefighters. It allows young burn survivors, ages 6-18, to be a kid and connect with other burn survivors. She attended the camp for six years as a camper and then returned as a junior counsellor for two years.

“Camp is a great place to forget you are a burn survivor and have tons of fun with other kids and adults that are just like you,” she says. “Attending the camp has been a huge highlight for me and the friendships I have made at camp will last a lifetime.”

Lasting connections and friendships is a theme that Monica says she will carry with her from her time at VIU as well.

“My classmates and faculty members have been a huge support and made the program enjoyable,” she relates. “I have made lifelong friends at VIU, and it is so exciting to watch my classmates graduate and start their new positions as well.”

And for those who may be considering enrolling in VIU’s Nursing program and pursuing a career in a similar field of their own, Monica offers some advice: 

“Go for it and just take it one day at a time,” she says. “Nursing school is not easy and the staff and classmates you will meet at VIU are extremely supportive, so make sure you lean on them when you need help.”

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