Love of nursing, of people and place

Lara Lammers Mount Douglas
Lara Lammers, BSN 2021, taking a break while hiking Mount Douglas near the UVic campus. Photo by Kelly Young

“I don’t know how I managed such a high GPA,” says the sincerely amazed Lara Lammers, recipient of the 2021 Certificate of Outstanding Academic Distinction for UVic’s Faculty of Human and Social Development. She achieved a 9.0 grade point average in completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

“I was so shocked. My partner and I were out camping when I saw the message on my phone. I had to sit down.” It took time for them both to fully realize what she had achieved, to celebrate this perfect moment. “We made a fire and just sat back to take it all in.”

When asked why she wanted to be a nurse, Lara says, “I love people. I’ve always been caring for people. It’s a big part of who I am. It’s that calling, I think. I’m passionate about learning how the body works, maintaining good health and diving into the science behind it all.”

Lara is a student with Selkirk College, one of four BC college partners that shares in teaching UVic’s nursing curriculum to local students. The Castlegar campus is home to the Nursing program, one of eight locations that stretch across BC’s West Kootenays.

The last year of studies was hard work, she says, to finish her four-year bachelor’s degree under lockdown. The learning was intense, she says, but studying from home for several months straight made it harder.

“I missed the collaborative class environment. It felt as though we were all learning together for those first three years and then that was taken away when the pandemic hit,” she pauses. “But we were lucky we had those first three years together.”

Not surprisingly, client interaction is equally important to her. She is passionate about home health and appreciates how meeting and caring for someone in their own home helps to dismantle power imbalances that are present in less comfortable, clinical environments. She envisions a long career in home and community care and says it’s likely she’ll branch out into the world of palliative care.

Lara came to Canada from the Netherlands at the age of five and her family settled in Nelson, BC. She aims to stay and practice nursing within the Nelson community.

“I love it here. It’s a spectacular, gorgeous place where you can find a lot of peace just by being in nature.” She finds joy in knowing that for all the trails she’s hiked and all the snowy runs she’s skied over the years, there are still many places she has yet to trek. “It’s endless, this beauty.”

A beauty she would capture through photography while co-running a small business. “It was the only photo lab in the Kootenays to offer analog film services,” she says with pride. Sadly, the lab was shuttered this time last year due to location issues.

Now, having passed the final exam, she is pleased to officially describe herself as a Registered Nurse, Lara is taking time to rest and reflect. She is grateful for the influential educators who presented her with new ideas, new perspectives. “I was taught how to think differently which allowed me to open up, to be more of a free thinker.”

As for how she achieved such high grades, she has no secret tips to share.

“I just did what I do,” she laughs. “I mean, when I do something, I do it to the best of my ability. I can’t do things halfway, you know?” She acknowledges her parents for nurturing this side to her nature and for being such great role models. “Dad is in science. Mom is in art. It’s a very good mix to grow up with.”

Prepared by Kate Hildebrandt – v.3