June 30, 2023

Class of 2023: Frontline experiences enrich UCQ nursing student’s journey

In her own words, Mihirani Chandraratne shares highlights at University of Calgary in Qatar
Mihirani Chandraratne
Mihirani Chandraratne.

I am from the island of Sri Lanka but have lived in Qatar my whole life. Growing up in Qatar, like many of my peers, we consider this country to be our home. Becoming a nurse was a way for me to give back to the community and make a difference.

I was grateful to be sponsored by HMC to complete my bachelor’s degree at UCQ back in 2013, and I have many fond memories of my time at the university, which is why I chose to come back and complete my master’s degree. My main inspiration in life is my family, which consists of my two wonderful sisters and my parents, who taught me to never give up.

Mihirani Chandraratne

From left: UCalgary Nursing Dean Sandra Davidson, Mihirani Chandraratne, and UCQ Dean Deborah White.

University of Calgary in Qatar

My first job was at the Learning Commons of UCQ, and I was nominated to be a member of the undergraduate and graduate committees at UCQ, even after I started the MN program. I have had many life-changing moments, such as being granted the International Exchange Award, getting the chance to practice as a nurse at the Foothills Hospital in Alberta, and even being able to present at a palliative care conference in South Africa for one of our undergraduate UREP's. I was really happy and proud to be the recipient of the Gold Medal Award during the 2017 UCQ convocation.

One of the main obstacles I had to face while working full time at a busy oncology ward and studying my master's course was the Covid-19 pandemic, as I was suddenly deployed for Covid duty. Working continuous 12-hour shifts and balancing coursework was not an easy task.

Despite the turmoil, we nurses find a way to persevere together and maintain hope that we can overcome adversity during challenging times. It was also a privilege to be selected as a FIFA World Cup 2022 medical volunteer. All of these experiences have definitely shaped who I am today.

I would not have achieved what I did without the support of all my UCQ instructors and peers as well. I would like to give a special thank you to my supervisor, Dr. Jessie Johnson, for successfully preparing me to complete my research and my defense. I would also like to express my gratitude to my previous instructors, Ms. Doris and Ms. Karen, who kept inspiring and motivating me to aim higher. I plan to continue working in oncology because I am passionate about the work I do. But I also want to support my fellow nurses as much as I can, which is why I selected the topic of oncology nurse burnout for my MN defense project.