Nov. 2, 2021

Class of 2021: 6 Questions with Andrea Loria

The Master of Nursing/Nurse Practitioner graduate on the presentation that transformed her, the pride of earning a health-care degree during a pandemic, and why being your own loudest cheerleader is important
Andrea Loria BN/BKin'13
Andrea Loria

This is part of series of articles where we asked the fall cohort of the class of 2021 to reflect on their time at the university and share what they learned and loved about their time here. For more student responses, visit Congratulations, Class of 2021.

When Andrea Loria shares the advice she would give herself on the first day of university, her list reads like a pep talk from someone who rose to the challenge of learning during an experience no one could have predicted.  

“Showing the desire to find an answer is at times more important than already knowing the answer,” she says. Salient words from someone who earned her Master of Nursing and became a Nurse Practitioner this fall during a pandemic when the search for answers in health-care became a global pursuit.  

Loria’s first degree at the University of Calgary was a joint bachelor's degree in nursing and kinesiology (BN’13, BKin’13). She was president of the Undergraduate Nursing Society and went on to work as a registered nurse. Her approach is one of continued learning and it is that attitude that helped carry her through COVID-19.  

In July 2020, she reflected on the experience of working toward becoming a Nurse Practitioner during COVID-19.  “There have been uncertainties and unfortunate circumstances,” she says. “However, I have a sense of gratitude for this experience and all that it has taught me: it may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”  

Loria took a few minutes to share some of what she’ll take away from her time at UCalgary. 

What advice would you give yourself on your first day of university?  

  • Strong work ethic and a good attitude will be your greatest assets.  

  • Strength is always found in the struggle.  

  • Showing the ability and desire to find an answer is at times more important than already knowing the answer.  

  • Don’t get defeated by what you do not know; you are there to learn! Always celebrate big and small wins. 

  • Giving respect earns respect — especially from the brilliant minds you meet along the way. 

  • Doors open when you will least expect them to. 

  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing great things. 

Is there a project, discovery or moment from your time at the university that you are most proud of?  

In our final clinical, we created a presentation about our “brand” as a Nurse Practitioner. That presentation solidified how far I had come and how excited I am for what my future holds.  

Post-secondary experiences pass by quickly. Being too focused on the finish line can cause you to forget to look behind you and appreciate how far you’ve come.  

That presentation was a transformational moment for me. During that presentation, I watched my peers step into their professional identities. It was an emotional experience as we had shared many wonderful and challenging experiences. It was special to reach the end together. 

Tell us about one person who supported you through your studies and powered you along the way.   

I look up to each Nurse Practitioner I had the pleasure of being mentored by during my clinical practicums. These NPs represent our profession with incredible leadership and knowledge. They are creating valuable change. 

I also owe myself for getting to where I am. Aspiring to a better version of yourself every day is a powerful attribute to have. You must be your loudest cheerleader when things get tough. And, you must be your biggest fan when it is time to celebrate accomplishments. 

What was the most unexpected or surprising thing you learned in your studies at the University of Calgary? 

Completing this degree during a global pandemic, especially in the health-care field, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Despite the ever-changing academic and clinical environments, the resiliency and strength of the university community remained constant. Taking every day as it comes, adapting accordingly and leaning on each other has been so important.  

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us about the significance of maintaining a good state of physical and mental health. As devastating as the pandemic has been, I am excited to be starting in a career during a vulnerable time. It is an opportunity to create valuable change.   

What is your favourite physical space on campus? When you come back to visit in years to come, where will you make sure to stop by? 

As cliché as it sounds, I have always loved the library. From my undergraduate days in MacKimmie to my graduate days in the Taylor Family Digital Library. My “go-to” spot is usually a quiet space in a corner with plenty of sunlight.   

Now what? What’s your next big move?  

I am working as a Nurse Practitioner with the Cardiac Sciences team at the Rockyview General Hospital. The learning continues and this is one of the many reasons why I love my profession. While I navigate the clinical and professional environment as a new Nurse Practitioner, I always have my sights set on the future. 

I am interested in participating in research and want to gain experience in a teaching role. I will continue to develop my personal brand as a Nurse Practitioner and deliver community-based interventions that focus on preventative and holistic health. 


Congratulations, Class of 2021

Read more Q-and-As from fall 2021 graduates.