To celebrate the #AthaU21 Convocation, we are profiling some of our amazing graduates. Athabasca University (AU) is so proud of everything they have accomplished and we are excited to celebrate each and every one of them at this year’s virtual convocation!
AU learner Amber Wiens chose AU for the flexibility it offered—allowing her to balance raising young children, home life, and her professional life as a perinatal nurse and undergraduate clinical instructor.
She started working towards earning her Master of Nursing (MN) degree in 2017 and as a result, is now serving as a nurse educator and clinical nurse specialist, something she says she could have only dreamed about when she began her nursing journey.
We chatted with Wiens to learn more about her MN journey and her plans for the future.
What inspired you to work in perinatal nursing?
I fell in love with perinatal nursing during my senior practicum on a labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum care unit during my senior practicum. Upon graduating with my bachelor of nursing (BN) in 2008, I began my nursing journey working full-time on that unit.
After two years and having started my family, I transitioned to working at a tertiary-level-care obstetrical unit at a facility close to my extended family. My love for perinatal nursing is something I am passionate about sharing with future generations of nursing, and as such I was privileged to begin my journey as a nursing instructor for undergraduate BN students in 2012. This experience and a commitment to upholding high standards of practice in all capacities of my professional role led me to pursue a MN with teaching focus at Athabasca University.
I have been fortunate to have extremely supportive professors and peers throughout my time at AU and was humbled to be nominated for the AU Governor General Gold Medal. My clinical experiences in caring for families as they welcome new family members and become parents is so rewarding; this is amplified by seeing the love for perinatal nursing sparked within students I have been lucky to teach.
“My clinical experiences in caring for families as they welcome new family members and become parents is so rewarding; this is amplified by seeing the love for perinatal nursing sparked within students I have been lucky to teach. ”– 2021 Master of Nursing Graduate Amber Wiens
How will completing your degree at AU transform your life?
It already has! My MN has created opportunities to expand my nursing career to a place that I only dreamed about as a new grad. It has given me confidence to use my voice to make positive contributions to my profession. It has refuelled a passion to continue to be committed to ongoing learning.
Who has supported you throughout your journey at AU?
My parents, sisters, and extended family all supported my success through words of encouragement and helping out with my young boys so I could work or study. Most importantly, my supportive husband made it possible. My achievement belongs not just to me but to him and our boys.
Tell us about a time that the flexibility of AU helped you overcome a challenge
During one of my first courses at AU, my dad suffered a heart attack. My professor was amazing and supported me to spend much-needed time to be with my family. Later, when the global pandemic hit, AU supported students and health professionals by reducing course loads and allowing us the ability to redirect all of our energy and brain power toward COVID efforts.
Ten years from now I hope to continue to be able to improve my knowledge and skills, to inspire my fellow peers and make positive contributions to my professions. It is my hope to contribute to a legacy of nurses who tirelessly work to best support the diverse birthing persons and families we are honored to serve.