» Go to news main

Nursing grad takes steps towards fulfilling her lifelong dream

Posted by Ryan Donato on June 3, 2024 in Students, School of Nursing, Alumni & Friends, News
Aneika Vassell is a proud member of the Black Nurses Association of Nova Scotia (BNANS).
Aneika Vassell is a proud member of the Black Nurses Association of Nova Scotia (BNANS).

Aneika Vassell’s lifelong dream has been to work in healthcare. Originally from Jamaica, Vassell was inspired to enter the healthcare field by her elementary school nurse.

“From my primary school days, I have always admired my school nurse and how she cared for the students who visited her office. This admiration and love for the profession grew into my passion.”

Vassell immigrated to Canada with her husband in 2017. Having previously earning an international diploma while in Jamaica, Vassell found work in the homecare sector and soon began looking for ways to advance in her career. Through her research, she discovered the School of Nursing at Dalhousie.

A passion for diversity in health care

Once accepted into the program, Vassell became passionate about diversity in healthcare and believes the diversity of healthcare professionals should mirror the diversity of our society.

She is a proud member of the Black Nurses Association of Nova Scotia (BNANS), an organization advocating for equitable health services for Black Nova Scotians. Vassell serves as the co-director of student engagement for the association.

During her studies, Vassell also participated as a panelist in a webinar titled Nursing While Black in Canada, hosted by the Pan Canadian Association for Nurses of African Descent, where she shared her journey as a Black undergraduate nursing student with peers from across Canada.

Vassell also developed a keen interest in dementia research stemming from her experience in elder care.

“Having cared for numerous elderly individuals living with dementia, I have witnessed the profound impact it has on both patients and their families. I aspire to contribute to future research aimed at further developing interventions for the treatment or prevention of dementia, as well as improving care strategies and family support, ultimately enhancing the quality of life for those affected by the disease.”

“My goal is to continue growing both personally and professionally, actively seeking opportunities for development as I progress from a novice to an experienced nurse, all while striving to make a positive impact on the lives of those under my care.”

Forever grateful

Vassell says she'll miss a lot about her time at Dal. Meeting and forming other relationships with other students, late night study sessions, and choosing areas of interest for clinical placements are just a few of her highlights.

Vassell also credits her professors as being instrumental in guiding her through the program.

“Nadine Ezzeddine, Damilola Iduye, Sheri Roach, Andrea Chircop, and Lisa Goldberg - these professors are amazing and I will forever be grateful to them for imparting their knowledge to me and also for looking out for me in different areas.”  

While sad to see her time at Dal come to an end, Vassell is excited about her future. She recently accepted a position with the Halifax Infirmary and hopes to continue her education in a few years while working towards becoming a Nurse Practitioner.