Joey Zeller teaches in the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program with the College of New Caledonia (CNC).
Zeller got into the profession later in life, after the birth of his children, and is now doing double duty as an advanced-practice nurse based in Quesnel where he is also an instructor for the next generation of local nurses.
“I practice as a family nurse practitioner here at the Quesnel Primary Care Clinic within Northern Health and I’ve been a faculty member with CNC since 2018. You called it double duty, but I don’t really look at it that way,” Zeller said.
“I think it’s important to have instructors that maintain a professional practice. It keeps you current, ensures best-practice, and allows you to bring that up-to-date knowledge into the classroom. The quality of teaching that we provide directly impacts patient care, so it’s very important.”
He has had the opportunity to learn and work in a variety of nursing environments, giving him a strong position to evaluate the CNC program, and he likes what he sees.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is that we have the smaller class sizes and smaller student-to-instructor ratio,” said Zeller. “We see students that come to our facility from much larger institutions and they talk about the difference in their lectures and previous clinical rotations versus their experience at CNC – it all comes down to support. Support from our staff, support from the community, and support from other students.”
He observed that some students are nervous to go to a small town for an education program, but he was certain those who choose the CNC program will soon appreciate the learning environment, especially since it reflects the northern healthcare reality with a working knowledge of many different facets, instead of being forced early on to specialize.
“We cover anything and everything that comes through our facility, so our graduates become really well-rounded nurses with a lot of hands-on clinical experience, said Zeller. “They’re highly sought after once they finish the program.”