June 30, 2023

Class of 2023: Nursing profession calls to UCQ student from Philippines

In her own words, Necah Marie Bolivar Gimotea shares her experiences at University of Calgary in Qatar
Necah Marie Bolivar Gimotea
Necah Marie Bolivar Gimotea.

My name is Necah Marie, and I am from the Philippines. During my early years, along with school, I really loved swimming. I enjoyed the sport, especially since it matched well with living in a tropical country. I would spend my summers training early in the morning and competing at small division meets and school intramurals. I moved to Qatar when I was 13 and didn't have many opportunities to swim, so I focused on academics and leadership throughout high school. I was a class officer almost every year and was very active in activities like Model UNs and debating. Recently, I've been into painting and crafting.

Studying at UCalgary was not my first choice, but when I attended the open house at UCQ, I was encouraged by the passion of the student volunteers. I was also astonished by the simulation rooms and manikins. At that time, all I could think about was being in those simulation rooms wearing scrubs.

A significant decision I made while at UCQ was honestly just to stay and pursue nursing. Almost everyone I knew in university had a moment of discouragement. Nursing is indeed a distinct profession that requires a lot of sacrifices, but it is also a rewarding job. Nursing is my calling, and although I had many chances to switch paths, I couldn't see myself working anywhere else. Whenever my patients would tell me things like, "I felt cared for by a fully pledged nurse even though you're still a student," it gave me even more reasons to persevere. My mom also wanted to become a nurse but never had the chance, so I want to do it for her.

Necah Marie Bolivar Gimotea

From left: Professor Hala Sultan Saif Al-Easa, president and CEO of UCQ; Necah Marie Bolivar Gimotea; and Dr. Ed McCauley, UCalgary president and vice-chancellor.

University of Calgary in Qatar

I started as a foundation year student, but I was already hands-on in joining nursing-related activities. I served as the university representative for Interprofessional Education Students' Association (IPE), and I also led their media and marketing team. During my freshman year, I was voted into the position of executive secretary for the NSSQ, where I had various leadership opportunities. I also won health-care-themed painting contests among health-care students in the country. A proud moment for me was being awarded the Leadership Award and Excellence in Clinical Practice Award for two different years. It made me feel like my hard work had paid off.

I remember at the end of the first year fall semester at UCQ, we had a return demonstration on using sterile technique for wound dressing. It was the most nerve-racking exam I had ever done. I was shaking the whole time, so I wasn't able to follow the steps, and I received a low mark. If I recall correctly, my grade was a C. Fast forward to the fourth-year fall semester, we were given a chance to choose a specialty for our clinical rotations, and I chose the Operating Theatre where the most valued skill is, of course, the use of sterile technique. I wasn't confident in the beginning because the last time I demonstrated this skill, I barely passed the exam. However, with the support of the nursing educators and my instructor, I was able to scrub in for multiple minor surgeries. If you ask me, I'll be glad to scrub in for laparoscopic cholecystectomy cases anytime!

I am thankful for Dr. Jessie Johnson as she helped me have a deeper appreciation for nursing during my IPE years. I am also grateful for my instructors Ms. Ana, Ms. Mariam, and Ms. Shehnaaz. They were knowledgeable and paid attention to detail in both teaching and connecting with their students. Now that I have graduated, I am hoping to work as an operating theatre nurse for paediatrics. I love working with children, and in the OT, there is always so much to learn.