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National bursary recognition caps off successful first term for CNC nursing student

Caleb Murphy

A registered nursing student at CNC has made an amazing impact in his first term on campus, capped off by winning a national bursary.

CNC nursing student Caleb Murphy is one of 20 recipients of the national Paul and Gerri Charette Bursary through Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Students facing additional barriers to post-secondary education in rural or northern areas receive preference for this award. Due to his resiliency, determination, and generosity, Caleb has received the maximum amount of $5,000.

“I’m just speechless right now. Since I started the nursing program, I’ve had a fear that I wouldn’t make it,” said Murphy. “It’s still shocking to me that I’m doing well in school because I’m beating the odds. I thought I’d be failing everything, and I’m not.”

In 2015, Murphy suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him in a coma. Once a straight-A student with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia, Murphy began a new journey relearning how to walk and talk, while relying on others for support with basic daily tasks. Eventually he got back on his feet, moved out, and found work on an oil rig in Alberta.

In 2020, he found himself back in the hospital with a previously undiagnosed mental health disorder.

“I learned a lot about myself that year, and what I wanted to do with my life. With all the time I spent in hospitals, the nurses were really caring towards me and gave me hope. I thought to myself, that’s something I want to do. I could use my own experiences to help other people advocate for themselves in the healthcare system and make sure they feel heard.”

After just one term in the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program, Murphy’s determination and generosity has already created a lasting impact at the college.

“I’m honoured to be one of his instructors. I’ve had the chance to see his growth over the term, and Caleb overcomes any obstacle that happens to be in his path,” said Nancy Esopenko, one of the instructors who supported Caleb’s nomination for the award. “I look forward to the nurse that he’s going to become, because I know he’s going to make a significant impact. I hope that one day when I need a nurse, Caleb will be there to care for me.”

Outside his studies, Murphy spends his time working with Prince George’s homeless population through the Association Advocating for Women and Community (AWAC), supporting those in active addiction.

“When I read the letters supporting Caleb’s nomination, a theme emerged of an individual striving to make a difference not only in his own life, but in the lives of others,” said Shelley Carter-Rose, CNC’s vice president of student affairs. “In addition to being a high-achieving student in the nursing program, his personal and academic engagement has made an impact on his classmates, our faculty, and the community.”

Murphy admits he had forgotten about his submission in the chaos of exams, but is surprised and extremely grateful to receive the award.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who made this award happen. I still have to process everything, but this award is going to give me the flexibility to stay in the nursing field. I was going to go back to the oil rigs to make money in the summer, but now I can stay in Prince George and really focus on what’s going to benefit my nursing career here.”

CNC’s Nursing Baccalaureate program is offered in partnership with UNBC (University of Northern British Columbia). Visit the CICan website to learn more about the Paul and Gerri Charette Bursary Program.

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