Jingjing sits at a desk in her hospital unit

The power of persistence and a helping hand

December 9, 2023

Jingjing Li shares her story

Currently working as a nursing unit assistant at Summit Quadra Village in Victoria, VIU alum Jingjing Li says she loves her job as a “communications link” in the medical field. But there was a time when she wasn’t even sure if she would make it past the first day of VIU’s Nursing Unit Assistant certificate program. With a good dose of persistence and the assistance and advice of staff and other students, Jingjing graduated from the program last spring and began work in the industry right away.

Here's what she had to say about her time at VIU, the program and how she got to where she is now.

Why did you choose VIU for your education?

I am living in Nanaimo with my family and VIU is the only university here. It has a very good reputation and the campus is in a nearby community from my house.

Where were you in your life when you realized education would help you achieve your goals?

From a very early age I recognized the power of education. I was born in a small city in northeastern China, and by going to a top university and learning some professional skills, I had a totally different life from my parents’ generation. After coming to Canada, I was trying to start a new career here, and I realized that education was the best way to make this dream come true.

Tell us a bit about your experience at VIU and in your program.

After the first day of the program, I was so upset that I decided to withdraw because of the language barrier. I emailed the program assistant and ask if I could discontinue my studies, and she phoned me for a long conversation to encourage me to try for a while. She shared her experience with me as a newcomer to this country. I followed her advice and made a good friend with a local lady in our program. Everything changed after that moment and I successfully finished.

Were there any unexpected benefits you discovered after becoming a student?

Yes! It provided me with a chance to get in touch with the other students and the local community.

Can you share an experience where the community you were in made an impact on your learning experience?

The manager Karen, assistant Yan, practicum coordinator Kathy and the ladies in my class made sure I was well-supported during the program. When I had some language challenges during my first practicum, they found two mentors who owned related work experiences to help me improve.

What’s next for you?

I love this job as a communications link in the medical field. I want to continue to do this kind of work.

What are you most proud of since completing your program at VIU?

I am the only student whose mother language is not English, but I persisted until the end and got a permanent full-time job with Island Health.

What advice would you give VIU students following a similar trajectory as yourself?

Challenge happens all the time, trust yourself and the people around you. Never give up.

Sign up for the Nursing Unit Assistant program

Applications are now open for the Nursing Unit Assistant program, which starts September 16, 2024. The deadline to apply is April 15, 2024. VIU will host an online information session about the program on March 27, as well as an in-person information session about this and other health care programs at VIU on February 15. Anyone is welcome to join.

Learn more

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