Dr. Nicoelle Wanner has been coming to Medicine Hat College for as long as she can remember.
She recalls following big footprints through the hallways when she attended early learning programs as a child, singing with the Medicine Hat College Girls’ Choir as a teen, and studying in the cafeteria for high school finals as a future college student. More recently, she comes here to work as one of the physicians in the campus medical clinic.
“Medicine Hat College has always been here for me,” says Wanner.
When the time came to start her post-secondary education, the decision was a no brainer.
“I could have moved away to another city or another university, but that was never really high on my priority list. I knew that I could get a very good education here with the added logical benefits of cost saving and smaller class sizes,” she explains.
“The college gave me the education and training I needed, in the environment that I needed during that time in my life. I never had to sacrifice anything by staying here.”
After completing two years of university transfer science courses, she went on to finish a Bachelor of Science at the University of Calgary. It was there she had her first real ‘a-ha’ moment about what made a MHC education so special.
“I was sitting in my first big lecture hall with four hundred students and thinking ‘Oh my God, what is happening?’ because that was not what I was used to. At MHC, you just had so much more one-on-one time with your instructors which improved the education for sure, but quite frankly it improved the fun.”
In addition to the solid education she received at MHC, she also had the opportunity to connect with people and develop relationships – skills that have served her well in her career.
Wanner finished her medical degree at the University of Alberta and returned to Medicine Hat for her residency. With strong roots in the community, she established her medical practice, started her family and began building the life she wanted to have. After 13 years, the busy mom of three closed her practice and moved to the MHC campus clinic, allowing her more time for family activities and non-clinical initiatives.
“The thing I love most about my job is the opportunities it's given me. Family has always been a priority for my husband and me and medicine has given me extra time with our kids. My training has also allowed me to create the job that I want and give me that independence to really tailor my work,” says Wanner, who is also involved with improving pediatric mental health services in Medicine Hat.
She credits her parents for instilling in her the values of having a strong work ethic, being grateful for opportunities, and supporting others in need. With her father working long hours, Wanner remembers her mother managing the household with four children while balancing a nursing career and has renewed appreciation and admiration for the example she set.
“What I learned from my mom later in her career was that she truly loved her work and loved the people that she helped and cared for. I always looked at that and said ‘That's what I want.’ I want to love my work.”
Being back at MHC, Wanner says she has come full circle. As she continues to learn new things about the college, see her former instructors in the halls, and connect with students through the clinic, her own MHC days don’t seem so long ago.
"In a way, I see myself in so many of the students that come to see me. I know they just want to get to where they're going, but I want to tell them to sit back and take their time. Enjoy the ride - you're going to get there eventually if that's where you're meant to be.
“It worked out for me.”