Mark Sutherland, BSN’09

Mark Sutherland, BSN’09

Mark Sutherland completed his Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2009. Since then Mark has worked as a nurse and has since transitioned to become a Policy Analyst at Provincial Health Services Authority in Vancouver. Marks shares his experience in the field and his advice for new and recent graduates.

Tell us about your role

I support the policy management process and promote quality policy work for the organization. I work with policy authors and various departments including risk management, human resources, and professional practice.

What attracted you to this organization?

I started with PHSA as a nurse at BC Children's Hospital. Over the years, I worked in various parts of the hospital and even taught groups of UBC nursing students as they completed their practicums at BC Children's. I also worked as a nurse at the BC Centre for Disease Control before working in the corporate policy office supporting all of PHSA.

What excites you about this role/organization?

Upstream thinking. After having spent many years providing direct patient care at a couple of tertiary centres, it's been great to work at a systems level and gain a better understanding of the bigger picture that is health care.

What was your first role after graduation?

Registered Nurse, Solid Organ Transplant, Vancouver General Hospital - caring for patients pre and post-transplant.

What skill did you learn in your very first job after graduation that you are still using to this day?

Organisational skills and the ability to manage competing priorities - it has even carried over to my personal life. I also began to understand the importance of having compassion for yourself in order to have compassion for others.

What techniques did you use to address career ambiguity?

Self-reflection and information gathering are key. Reaching out to people in your desired industry to learn as much as you can about the job to make an informed decision for yourself is very important.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Completing an intense one year Master's in Public Health from one of the world's top three programs.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in your career?

 Overcoming burn out and making changes in my career and personal life to combat it.

What have you learned about yourself over the past few months?

Resilience is an important skill that needs to be continually cultivated throughout our careers and our lives.

What advice do you have for the class of 2020?

Be prepared for times that will be intense, challenging, and rewarding.

What memories do you have of graduation?

I was fortunate to have been selected by my teachers to speak on behalf of my class at my graduation ceremony. We were a very tight knit group and it was an honour to address my classmates and their families.

What uncertainty were you feeling upon graduation?

I had to take a temporary position in a specialty area that I was unfamiliar with upon graduation. I was very surprised that the job market for nurses had taken a turn and was disappointed that there weren't any jobs available in my area of interest. My first job ended up being an incredible experience which helped me become a better candidate and resulted in getting the role I was hoping for a year later.

What did you wish you knew when graduated?

Be prepared to learn things that you will never un-learn!

What is your best career advice?

It's a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient and on the lookout for opportunities.