UMDNJ-School of Nursing Honors First Graduates of New Program
17 “career changers” earn nursing degrees in accelerated program
STRATFORD — More than 100 proud family members are expected to attend a ceremony honoring the first graduates of the Accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program at UMDNJ-School of Nursing in ratford, on Wednesday, August 22, beginning at 5 p.m., in the Academic Center, on UMDNJ’s Laurel Road campus, in Stratford. The ceremony will pay special tribute to the 17 students who recently completed the rigorous 15- month program to earn Bachelor of Science degrees and to fulfill the requirements to take the national certifying exam to become registered nurses.
“Every one of this incredible group of students is a career changer, and most come from fields, like accounting and engineering, that you wouldn’t normally consider as preparation for health care,” said Dr. Anne McGinley, assistant dean of the UMDNJ-School of Nursing in Stratford. “They come from such varied backgrounds, but they share a common goal to have a direct and personal impact on helping individuals to overcome illness and disease.”
The Accelerated BSN program is the only nursing program in South Jersey that offers a fast-track option for individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. The Accelerated BSN program allows qualified students to earn a BSN degree in 15 months instead of the traditional four-year BSN programs for students with only a high school degree. The program began on the nursing school’s Stratford campus in May 2006. It was launched on the Newark campus in 2004.
Listed below are several of the interesting graduates of this program. Members of the media interested in covering this event or interviewing the graduates should contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or (973) 972-3000.
Chrystal Dorsey, of Willingboro, a former X-ray and nuclear medicine technician, remembers exactly when she decided that she wanted to become a nurse. She was working in a hospital when the patient she was with suddenly "coded" and all Chrystal could do to help was to assist getting the patient onto a stretcher. At that moment, she decided that if she was ever faced with a similar situation, she would face it as a nurse with the training and skills to help save a life.
Olayiwola Ilori, of Philadelphia, spent 15 years in engineering before making a complete life change to spend 15 months earning a nursing degree in UMDNJ's accelerated program. Growing up in Nigeria, Olay always wanted to be in health care, but was steered instead toward engineering. In fact, he originally came to America with plans to pursue a degree in that subject. Instead, seeing the opportunities available in this country, he decided to fulfill his childhood ambition by becoming a nurse.
Patty Hoffman, of Florence, had worked in the insurance industry for many years when she decided it was time for a change. Although the company she was working for was going out of business, Patty’s experience would have allowed her to easily find work in the same field with another company. Instead, realizing that she had grown tired of working in front of a computer terminal, Patty began looking for an opportunity to have a more direct and substantial impact on people's lives, and the accelerated nursing program became a perfect fit.
Christina Hutson, of Mt. Laurel, already had exposure to the health care profession before she enrolled in the accelerated BSN program at UMDNJ. In her previous career, she had worked as an accountant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee. That experience was enough to make her want to become more directly involved with helping patients, so when she moved to New Jersey, she took advantage of UMDNJ's program to change the direction of her career. She doesn't plan to leave her former job experience behind her entirely, however. Christina plans to follow a career path that will allow her to apply her accounting skills to enhance health care.
Deepali Kenjale, of Marlton, had taken an extended break from the health care field before enrolling in the accelerated BSN program at UMDNJ. Before devoting the past six years to raising her family, Deepali had been a physician of alternative medicine in India. When it came time to return to the healthcare field, Deepali looked for a career path that would still give her the flexibility to stay closely involved with her family life. Despite the intensive nature of the accelerated BSN program, Deepali enrolled knowing that her 15 months of training would prepare her for a professional career that provided both personal rewards and flexibility.
Raquel Castillo, of Galloway Township, already had a secure career path and a rewarding and challenging job as a middle school teacher. From the time she came to the United States nearly eight years ago from her native country, the Dominican Republic, Raquel knew that she had a desire to do something more with her life and that something was a career as a nurse. Following her graduation from the UMNDJ accelerated BSN program, Raquel has plans to pursue a master’s degree.
Oyenmwen Edo-Ohonba, of Horsham, was an accountant in her native country, Nigeria. But the idea of becoming a nurse had been a dream since childhood. That dream was rekindled in America, especially when Oyen heard her physician husband talk about helping patients. Knowing that she shared his passion for helping others and not wanting to wait any longer to fulfill her dream, she enrolled in the accelerated nursing at UMDNJ.
Applications are now being accepted for January 2008 admission to the Accelerated BSN Program at Stratford. Prospective students seeking information may send e-mail to SNstratford@umdnj.edu or call 856-566-6253.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.