Wendy Wagner, Chair
Phone: (250) 740-6249, Local 6249
"My career in both nursing and teaching has been a forty year journey through a varied and interesting pathway. I started as an LPN in rural settings, and moved through critical care experiences as an RN. A BSN provided opportunities in specialty areas, and finally an MA brought me to VIU. For the past twelve years I have been teaching in the Nursing programs, as well as with Continuing Education. During this time I have gratefully accepted Leadership roles in those programs as well as with Research Ethics both within VIU and VIHA."
Malena Acosta, Instructor
Phone: (250) 753-3245, Local 2351
Malena started her nursing career in 1989, when she graduated from the Practical Nursing Program at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University). The program was instrumental in setting the foundation for her high standards of nursing care. Malena then proceeded to obtain her Diploma in nursing from Okanagan University College as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Victoria. She also just completed the Provincial Instructors Diploma from Vancouver Community College.
Malena brings her passion for nursing directly to her classroom and clinical settings. She enjoys sharing her twenty-four years of nursing experience with her students. Malena has worked in variety of health care settings including medical/surgical units, telemetry and home care. She has been teaching in the Practical Nursing Program at Vancouver Island University since 2003, in both classroom and clinical settings. In order to ensure she keeps her skills up-to-date, Malena still works on a casual basis at NRGH..
Michelle Vahamaki, Instructor
Phone: (250) 746-3594, Local 3594
Michelle started her career in Paediatric Intensive Care in Ontario after completing the Diploma RN program at Centennial College. She later completed a BScN program at Ryerson University while pursing her passion for neonates in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She moved into community health where she attended and presented at several community conferences during her work as a Paediatric Community Clinical Resource Nurse. She began her love for mentoring while working as an Instructor in the Personal Support Worker program before her move to Vancouver Island in 2009. Michelle joined VIU in 2017 as a sessional instructor where she shares her passion for paediatric, neonatal and community health nursing while supporting the future leaders in health care.
Sarah Whiteley, Instructor
Phone: (250) 753-3245, Local 2216
Sarah began her nursing career after graduating from Blackpool School of Nursing (UK) in 1988. She worked in acute medical and specialist surgical areas where she attained diplomas in teaching and assessing in clinical practice. Her interest transitioned to a career in primary health care, with a focus on managing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory care and health promotion. In this setting she gained her post graduate BSc (Hons) as a Nurse Practitioner from the University of Central Lancashire, UK. She moved to Canada with her family in 2008. Prior to joining VIU, Sarah worked both as an employee and as an independent consultant in the fields of primary health care quality improvement and health care redesign. Sarah joined VIU’s BSN and PN programs as clinical sessional faculty in 2015, where she combines her passion for nursing excellence with the ability to educate, inspire and empower others. She is based on the Nanaimo Campus.
Paula Schnare, Instructor
Phone: (250) 753-3245, Local 2351
Paula began her nursing career in 2007 when she graduated with a Bachelor in Science of Nursing from the University of Victoria. She worked on a heavy medical unit at Victoria General hospital through the last two years of her nursing program as an undergraduate nurse, supplementing and consolidating her nursing knowledge. She began work in a rural setting in areas of pediatrics, labour/delivery, maternity and medical/surgical overflow as well as in Public Health areas. Paula feels continuing to work in these areas at present helps guide her teaching.
Paula has been teaching at VIU since January 2015, where she discovered she loves teaching in both a classroom and clinical setting. She is passionate about guiding nursing students to appreciate their work, and provide holistic care to the public. Paula is currently working on her Provincial Instructor Diploma through Vancouver Community College.
Ling Ma, Instructor
Phone: (250) 740-2361, Local 2361
Ling joined the VIU Practical Nursing Program as a full-time instructor in 2016. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the Athabasca University. From 2008 to 2016 Ling taught Practical Nursing at Bow Valley College (Calgary), the Career College (Vancouver), and at Sprott Shaw College (Vancouver). Ling’s practice experience includes rehabilitation, gerontology, palliative and medical care settings. She is always encouraging students to reach their full potential by empowering them to think critically, and to identify their interests and strengths in learning. During her career as an instructor, Ling has developed her teaching skills and the ability to respond to various learning needs with innovative ideas and approaches.