In preparing for a demanding career like nursing, Cassandra Zucht says one of the most valuable lessons she learned was that, in order to provide the best care for others, it's essential to care for yourself.

Why did you choose to study nursing?
I chose to study nursing because there is something so humbling about being in the position to make some of the worst days of people’s lives a bit better. The fact that I could do that every day made choosing nursing as my career a no brainer.

What was your most memorable experience while at the University of Lethbridge?
My favourite University of Lethbridge memory was with my rural acute clinical group in Taber. Despite our exhaustion, we belted out ABBA’s Dancing Queen together at 5:30 a.m. on the way to our shift. I still laugh whenever I think about it!

What is the most important lesson you learned during your time in the Faculty of Health Sciences?
The most important lesson I learned in the Faculty of Health Sciences was to care for myself. I learned work-life balance, to know the limits of my mind and body and the importance of making time for friends, family, and fun. In order to provide the best care for others, you need to care for yourself.

Is there someone specific who had an important influence on your experience?
There are too many people to count who had important influences on my post-secondary experience. My parents, my sister, my friends new and old, instructors like Sarah Krogman and Laura Vogelsang, my preceptors Leona Borden and Kayla Keech — the list is endless! It takes a village to create a nurse.

What are your future plans?
My future plans are to work with the pediatric and/or neonatal populations and their families for a few years, and then eventually become a pediatric/neonatal nurse practitioner.

What does this recognition mean to you?
This recognition came as a complete surprise to me. There were times I was surprised I made it through a semester, let alone did as well academically as I did. Like any of my nursing colleagues, I worked hard, but I also had many bumps on my journey due to my personal health. There were times I considered taking a year off until my health was better managed. This recognition shows me that nothing, not even my chronic illness, can get in the way of my goals. If you are determined, you can do anything you set your mind to and more.