Sept. 9, 2022

Meet your Undergraduate Nursing Society (UNS) President

Q&A with fourth-year nursing student Athena Liu
Athena Liu, UNS President
Athena Liu, UNS President

As president of the Undergraduate Nursing Society, Athena Liu is a leader for her undergraduate peers. “I ensure that students are aware of conferences, scholarships, and other opportunities,” she says. “I go back and forth between nursing students and the faculty for clear communication and updates.”

Liu is a direct entry student and was involved in Year One Nursing Council (YONC) in her first year. She attended the CNSA conference as a general member, then as CNS Associate Delegate in her second year, as VP Events in her third-year, and now in her final year as President.

She says while COVID-19 disrupted or stopped all previous student activities, she’s currently working with her executive council to bring back events and academic support from before COVID-19.

"I want to be an advocate for student nurses, connect students and faculty members, and create opportunities/ events for nursing students to come together and make new memories.”

Why did you choose to go into nursing?
“I was interested in health care and wanted to help people, but I was unsure what occupation I could go into. Then, I attended UCalgary's orientation and spoke with some nursing recruiters who convinced me to enter nursing with the opportunity to work with a diverse group of patients.”

What most excites you about the future of nursing?
"I think nursing is a very versatile job where you can work in many specialities. I am looking forward to how our scope of practice changes in the future. During my last clinical placement at Foothills, I had the chance to accompany my patient for his minor surgery. I was so excited and impressed when I saw a RN perform a small surgery, a PICC line, insertion, in 15 minutes. During my last clinical placement at Foothills, I had the chance to accompany my patient for his minor surgery. I was so excited and impressed.”

What’s a stand-out memory from your first year of nursing school?
“I really enjoyed working with the cadavers in KNES. I have a lot of fun memories and pictures with YONC (Year One Nursing Council) from the events we planned together.”

Advice for new first year students starting this fall?

“Enjoy your first year! You're not working in long-term care or the hospital yet, so it's a good time to make friends, join clubs, and do what you love. On the academic side, making study groups with other nursing students are really helpful for midterms and finals.”

What did you do this past summer?
“This past summer, I was involved with research with Dr. Jacqueline Smith through the Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship. We looked at the feasibility and impact of offering the ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) program training to nursing students and staff. It was an amazing eight-week experience! I was able to share my work by attending a conference as a guest speaker and presenting to the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary. As a co-author, we are now looking for an undergraduate research journal to publish our findings.”

What’s an unknown fact about you that most people are surprised to know?
“I really like classical music and I can play four instruments: piano, violin, flute, saxophone. I like to attend live music whenever I can.”

Plans for after nursing school? Do you know what area of nursing you’re drawn to?
“I am looking at a potential masters' degree or further research. I think there is still more for me to do. I am very interested in mental health and working with that population.”

Your power jam right now?
“Money by Lisa.”