"I believe that nursing is both a science and an art. It requires both sides of the brain, and the entirety of your heart."
Alexander (Ali) Lamont-Caputo
- Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Grad year: 2021
My name is Alexander (Ali) Lamont-Caputo, I have completed a Combined Major in Science (BSc) at the University of British Columbia, and have recently completed a Bachelors of Science in Nursing at UBC.
I have always had an interest in the question “how do we know what we know?” This seemingly simple question left me to pursue it's answer in the field of science. What I found was a structured, formal, logical, and binary understanding of the world and our humanity. Upon completion of my first degree, I came to the realization that the scientific method, although beautifully constructed, had neglected a massive aspect of the human experience. I began to examine how the scientific method had secured its place with respect to the objective and observable world, and how it simultaneously lost sight of the subjective experience. This realization did not manifest in an attempt to undervalue the scientific method; instead, it illuminated a knowledge deficit that I needed to ameliorate through further education and experience. I found my answers in the field of Nursing.
I was born and raised in the east side of Vancouver, BC, where I was surrounded by many different cultures, alternative norms, and family dynamics that I previously thought were universal. I have since realized that this was not the case for most, and that I was incredibly lucky to develop within such a diverse environment. In retrospect, the struggles that my family (and many others) had faced, with addiction, incarceration, conflict and divorce, provided me with a framework for understanding the importance of a combined social-medical model of disability, trauma-informed care, and harm-reduction approaches within the healthcare system.
Why did you choose to go into your field of study at UBC?
As mentioned preciously, I was raised by a single mother. Similar to how I am beginning my career during a pandemic, my mother began her practice as an RN caring for populations that were inequitably affected by the AIDS/HIV epidemic. My mother is still practicing, and works within Providence Healthcare as an Addictions Liaison Nurse. She provides outreach education across multiple Providence sites and assists healthcare providers in tailoring their care to patients facing addiction challenges. With this being said, It becomes clear that my mother has been an inspiration when considering my career path.
Beyond this, for lack of better words, I felt that nursing ‘fit’. I believe that nursing is both a science and an art. It requires both sides of the brain, and the entirety of your heart. In deciding my career path, I highly valued and prioritized the ability to go into work and exercise my psycho-social-spiritual capacities. Ultimately, I felt that nursing provided me with an optimal opportunity to achieve this.
What has made your time at UBC memorable?
I’m going to keep it real with you. This has been the most challenging period of my life (beyond the fact that I write this article in the context of a global pandemic). From the late nights studying for exams and completing assignments, to the early mornings (we’re talking before the busses start running early) attempting to commute to the hospital for clinical placements; it felt like there was no time to catch my breath. However, that feeling would immediately subside when I would arrive to class (five minutes late more often than not) and look at the incredible, talented, compassionate, intelligent, non-judgemental, thoughtful, and creative people around me. These individuals who used to be strangers, are now friends, co-workers, and roommates.
I guess what I’m trying to say is… The experiences you have at UBC, and in particular, within the UBC Nursing Program, will align you with such a diverse group of people who have undeniably unique perspectives on the world, and that this will equip you to see this exact diversity wherever you orient yourself.
There’s something unique about a room full of nurses, and I wish I could fully explain it to you.
How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?
As expressed earlier, I believe that Nursing is both a science and an art. With this in mind, I decided to peruse careers both within acute care and mental health. I am currently employed at UBC Hospital within the Surgical Short Stay, as well as within BC Children’s Hospital Youth and Adolescent Mental Health programs.
Within my role on the UBC Surgical Short Stay unit, I am constantly utilizing the fundamental nursing theory, pharmacology, and critical-thinking skills obtained over the duration of this program. Within my role at BC Children’s, I am consistently using theories related to child development, psychotherapeutic approaches, psychopharmacology, relational-practice, and family theory. I believe that this program equipped me with foundational knowledge and skillsets that have allowed me to flourish as a new graduate.
What are your future plans to make a difference in our world?
My intentions are multifaceted. Currently my intention is to ensure the bio-psycho-social-spiritual safety of all my patients. This may look different within the different roles I currently hold; however, it is at the forefront of my care wherever I practice. For context, at BC Children’s, my intention is to create a safe and therapeutic environment, such that exclusively positive experiences occur within the healthcare setting. This stems from my belief that our experiences with healthcare at an early age can influence our long-term outcomes, and our future propensity for engaging with the healthcare system.
I seek to fortify my knowledge of medical practices, pathophysiology, pharmacological intervention, and relational-practice with the intention of pursuing further education within the Masters of Science in Nursing - Nurse Practitioner program at UBC. I intend to advance my practice as a means to increasing my capacity for engaging in primary health care. I project that my interests will remain in addressing the health of marginalized communities, therefore I seek to provide service through community health clinics or contracted community services. I seek to increase my scope within this role by continuously pursuing further education and training (for example, psychotherapy techniques), so that I can safely and effectively provide a variety of care options to these communities.