Niagara College student earns two Gold Star awards from the Niagara Health System

Niagara College Practical Nursing student April Horodenchuck has received two Gold Star awards from the Niagara Health System, for work she has done during her consolidation placement at the St. Catharines hospital.

When it comes to patient care, a Niagara College Practical Nursing student is not only reaching for stars – she’s becoming one.

The Niagara Health System has recently presented two Gold Star awards to April Horodenchuck, who has been working her consolidation placement at the NHS St. Catharines Site’s mental health unit since August 2015. The 34-year-old Thorold resident was honoured by the NHS Star Award program for her devotion to her patients and for providing a high level of care and compassion. Gold Star awards are distributed in response to as a response to a patient issuing a verbal or written compliment to the NHS Patient Relations department about a member of its healthcare team.

“April has been a remarkable student during her consolidation under the supervision of a registered practical nurse in one of our acute mental health units. As the manager of the unit, I have been most impressed with April’s professionalism and the nursing skills she demonstrates on a daily basis,” said the NHS’s David Barry, clinical manager, Acute Inpatient Mental Health Unit 1M and Impact Niagara. “She is devoted to her patients and is very kind and caring. And the patients adore her. She is a wonderful nurse who has a great career ahead of her.”

Horodenchuk said she is grateful for the valuable clinical experience that she has gained through her consolidation placement with the NHS and she was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when receiving her two gold stars. “This award is fulfilling to me personally because my goal as a nurse is to make a difference in patients’ lives. I achieved this as a student which was unexpected,” she said. “I go to placement each day on Unit M giving each patient the holistic care they deserve and I feel that each day the reward is just to see someone smile.”

Carolyn Triemstra, acting dean of Health and Community Services at Niagara College, noted that the NHS is a very supportive educational partner to the College. “The NHS provides many of our students with opportunities to work alongside professionals who are willing to share their vocational knowledge and expertise,” said Triemstra. “This award is an example of how our student was able to demonstrate her skills knowledge and abilities in a competent, caring manner.”

For Horodenchuk, the gold stars she has received are a great reminder of why she chose to become a nurse. While she had been working in long-term care before enrolling in the College’s Practical Nursing program, a family member’s mental health issues led her to become interested in the field.

She noted that Niagara College has contributed to her success. As a parent of two children, the College’s program delivery allowed her to make her vision of going back to school a reality, as she was able to attend classes during the evenings and take on a lighter course load. She chose Niagara College because of its reputation for student success in national nursing exams, as well as the hours students receive through clinical placements.

“Niagara College offers an amazing simulation lab that is open to students daily in the program,” she said. “It gives that real-life experience while having experienced nursing lab techs help guide you through any gaps of knowledge.”

Niagara College Practical Nursing graduates have demonstrated great success when it comes to Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam (CPNRE) results. In January 2015, the Examination Performance Profile by School indicated that Niagara College graduates met or exceeded the jurisdiction (provincial) scores in each of the 10 categories on the CPNRE exam, and met or exceeded national scores in nine out of 10 categories. Niagara College graduates also exceeded the provincial average on their scores in September and January 2014.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit
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