Lyanne Lamanilao

Engaging student nurses for a stronger union and better health care

All her life, Lyanne Lamanilao knew she wanted to be a nurse.

“I’m very passionate about empowering people. I like helping them make the best possible decisions about their health,” says Lyanne, who joined Kwantlen University’s nursing program in 2013.

As eager as she was to become a nurse, she knew her four-year educational journey would be a serious challenge, she says. “You have to be really dedicated and passionate to be a nursing student. It takes a lot of time and effort to actually learn the theory and be able to apply it.”

From the start, Lyanne believed student nurses should understand their rights and stand up for them. So, when BCNU leaders spoke to her class, their message about the union’s student nurse program resonated strongly. Clearly, the union was there to help.

“The union shared my interest in helping people,” she says. “That is the business of the union, and showing that to other students was really great. I want them to fight for the profession, and for nurses’ rights.”

Lyanne was a natural choice for BCNU’s Student Liaison Program.

Designed to strengthen links between nursing schools and BCNU, the program pairs a student representative from each nursing school with a BCNU regional chair. Lyanne served as Kwantlen’s rep, meeting with her designated union chair about student issues, reporting back to her class — and immersing herself in a firsthand leadership experience.76 students who were awarded bursaries by BCNU in 2016660 student members joined since 2016

“My role as student liaison has helped me develop my leadership skills, which are essential to being a nurse,” she notes.

As the voice of the nursing profession, BCNU encourages early involvement in the organization, welcoming all student nurses with free memberships. In 2016, BCNU’s student membership grew by 660, and the union supported 76 future nurses through bursaries, conference attendance and more.

Joining BCNU unlocked this eye-opening world of special resources for Lyanne. Membership also gave her access to the Building Union Strength course, attendance at regional meetings and conferences, and access to the Update magazine.

She was especially intrigued by BCNU’s volunteer outreach program, offering choice opportunities to practice her future profession.

“I want to work in the community as a home health nurse,” she reveals — an ideal match for her passion to communicate about healthy living.

The Student Liaison Program turned out to be the perfect launchpad for Lyanne’s career. Excelling in leadership and volunteer assignments, Lyanne also expanded her learning, developed her talent for leadership, and advanced the strong communication skills she would need in her field.

“Being a student member with BCNU has allowed me to become more confident and really boosted my communication skills,” says Lyanne, who is now graduated and planning to be actively engaged in the union.

Student nurses are VIPs at BCNU, and Lyanne Lamanilao’s story shows why they always will be. In 2016, we invested deeply in these relationships and will continue to do so. Our student members are fostering our union while preparing to be the future of health care.