June 16, 2024


You are Your Only Limit

UVic news – College of Victoria

4 min read

There’s something wonderful that takes place when good factors materialize to great persons, specially when their hard get the job done pays off. This was the case for James Matthew Besa, who self-identifies as a cis-male nursing pupil of color. His legitimate, caring character and dedication to the industry of nursing were being recognized this earlier calendar year through the Margaret A. Evans Memorial Scholarship. The encouragement and fiscal help from this award arrived at a time when James desperately desired it to enable fulfil his degree prerequisites.

Leaving a legacy

Margaret A. Evans spent her time compassionately caring for her mother and father and other individuals who endured from ailment and ailment. The way she lived her everyday living impressed her adoring husband, Bernie, to produce a scholarship in her identify for students who emulate her gentle and cheerful characteristics, which she taken care of even through the harsh Despair several years. Bernie recognized the award right after Margaret handed in 1981, but her legacy life on by the lives she touched, and the 111 (and counting) College of Victoria nursing college students who have been given the award to date.

James’ values essentially align with Margaret’s. From an early age, he also passionately cared for folks, animals, and the environment. He joined his mom in Nelson, BC in 2016, just after immigrating to Canada from the Philippines. Driven by his motivation to assist people and his remarkably sunny outlook on existence, he determined to observe a career in nursing.

Nursing is the art and science of caring. If you glance at what we will have to do every single day and you can do it with kindness, then anything that follows will be favourable.”

—James Matthew Besa


Far more than funds

Going to Victoria as an intercontinental scholar posed several troubles, so James enrolled in the partnership plan among Selkirk Higher education and UVic. This authorized him to remain in the Kootenays with his family and assisted simplicity some costs. In advance of nursing college, he labored two employment to support shell out for the application. At the time faculty began, James was identified to do regardless of what it took to come to be an exceptional nurse and he dove headfirst into discovering.

Sad to say, he hadn’t realized his remote location would necessarily mean he would have to have to vacation significantly from residence for his practicum placements. The scholarship aided James conquer that obstacle. “Receiving this award gave me some economic flexibility. $2,000 is a significant offer for me,” says James. He utilised the scholarship revenue to order a dependable car so he could journey properly to his practicum placement 90 minutes absent. Doing the job four days on and a few times off, he fitted the car with a mattress and heater so he could stay in it right away and conserve journey time involving lengthy shifts.

James stands proudly with the car he was able to purchase and use for travel to practicum placements, thanks to donor funds. Photo Credit: Adrian Wagner Studio.


James’ compassionate nature and devotion to supporting other individuals shines by his academic and professional journey. Through most of his diploma, he also worked as a student nurse at a very long-expression treatment facility. “Dementia treatment, palliative care, and conclusion-of-existence care are quite difficult to do, but I like the environment of dwelling though accomplishing your work and being able to develop powerful relationships with my patients.” He is also very fascinated in the establishing field of environmental nursing and discovering how the environment impacts the brain, overall body and soul.

James points out specializing in geriatric nursing. 

Hard systemic racism in the nursing career

Throughout faculty James also advocated on behalf of fellow pupils to challenge systemic racism. Possessing seasoned racism 1st-hand soon after transferring to Canada, James is happy that he channelled that adverse electrical power into good motion. He served as the Men and women of Colour caucus chair for the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association and posted his own research, The Range Embracement Project. “My goal in creating this project is to encourage other nursing learners like me to obstacle social injustices in nursing courses and society in normal,” claims James.

 So, what is upcoming for James? Immediately after graduation, he ideas to perform in underserved communities in BC with a objective of one particular working day performing for the Earth Health and fitness Group. No matter of the correct task or business, his ultimate dream is basic: “I want to advocate for folks like me and to make a tiny distinction.”  

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