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Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing FALL 2008 & SPRING 2009 Editions

Celebrating Our Graduates!

~ Graduate Student Profiles

~ Student Academic Accomplishments

~ Honoring Our Graduates Potluck Celebration!

~ University of Alaska Southeast

~ The RRANN NWD Crew


CELEBRATING OUR FALL2008 GRADUATES! SPRING2009 Gracie Nelson, Mary Devlin and Evelina Achee are RRANN’s 2008 Fall Semester graduates from Bethel, Alaska! Working closely with the RRANN Facilitator Evelyn Pensgard, and with the exception of the eight weeks of clinical rotations in specialized units at Anchorage hospitals, these amazing students have been able to take all of their nursing classes by videoconferencing from Anchorage at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) hospital in Bethel. Gracie Nelson

2008 FALL GRADUATES 2009 SPRING GRADUATES Michelle Cooper Chelsea Johnson Becky Van Natten Maria Nashalook


Mary Devlin Evelina Achee Gracie Nelson

AAS - Bethel AAS - Bethel AAS - Bethel

Amber Blackhurst

AAS - Southeast

Muriel Bell Kimberly George Sabrina Christiansen

AAS - Independent Statewide AAS - Independent Statewide AAS - Independent Statewide

Mary Devlin


- Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage


School of Nursing

University of Alaska Anchorage

Spring 2009 RRANN Graduates, Chelsea Johnson * Becky Van Natten * Maria Nashalook share a laugh at the Graduation Potluck, held in April. UAA is an EO/AA Employer and Educational Instutution

Evelina Achee

STUDENT PROFILES Michelle Cooper BS Nursing Graduate, Fall 2008 UAA Anchorage I’m originally from Marshall Alaska and my culture is Yupik, on the Lower Yukon Delta. After I graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School and started attending UAA, at first I didn’t know what I wanted to study. However, while working at Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) I realized just how important Native nurses are. So after a supervisor made me feel really low, I decided to do something about it . . . I made the decision to attend nursing school! I got everything together and started January 2004. Although I worked full time, I also attended school full time - even in the summer, because I was determined to get this done. Judy Stavely was my RRANN tutor at the time and I considered her a “gift from God!” She helped me through my major classes and I can honestly say that if it had not been for the RRANN program, I would have given up years before. Well, I’ve finally made it and I’m surprised how fast the last four years have gone by. It’s hard to put your life on hold to get through school, but believe me, it’s worth all the sleepless nights. I remember my first clinical and being so scared. I didn’t understand nursing diagnosis and I felt lost. I was used to the office part of nursing, but having to actually talk to patients was frightening. I was afraid of giving medicine, but the fear and nervousness does go away and once you understand and put what you’ve read in class to use, it all clicks because it’s all there in your head. Now that I have my Bachelors degree in Nursing, there is “no limit to what I can do” and no one will ever make me feel low again! I encourage anyone interested in nursing to just jump in and have fun. There are great people out there, willing to help you and if you make the effort, you can succeed. I would like to thank everyone in the RRANN Program. This is a wonderful program to not only get people together, but to allow you to blow off stress. It was good to hear from students who went ahead of me and it was comforting to know someone was always there for me. So thank you from the bottom of my heart! ~~~~~

“One of the things my parents taught me, and I’ll always be grateful for the gift, is to not ever let anybody else define me.”


--Cheif Wilma Mankiller


BS Nursing Graduate, Fall 2008 UAA Sitka I grew up in North Dakota and I’m a descendant of the Arikara tribe. I live in Sitka, Alaska, with my husband Carl. I value the experiences I’ve had in the nursing program and I’m excited to pursue a career that offers so many different disciplines. Nurses have the opportunity to help people in various ways; education, patient care, counseling, advocacy and community wellness, just to name a few. By overcoming adversity, my family has inspired me to help others who are dealing with complex issues. I believe that I can make a positive impact in others, by encouraging healthy lifestyles while supporting traditional values. Although I’ve had many positive influences throughout my life, I’ve really been influenced by the students I work with at Mt. Edgecumbe High. I’ve worked there for the past four years as a Resident Advisor and the perseverance, as well as the determination that they show on a daily basis, really encourages me to work hard at my studies. I honestly believe that the best way for me to honor and show appreciation, is by helping others and I’m so excited to not only have graduated, but to begin a career that involves lifelong learning!


Sabrina Christiansen AAS Nursing Graduate, Fall 2008 UAA Kodiak I’m Aleut and I grew up in Old Harbor. I moved to Kodiak four years ago to pursue my education. Even though I focused on having a family first, I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. I just wanted to help my people to be healthy and be in a position to provide medical care for them. The RRANN program has been like an extended family to me! I’ve always felt that if I were having trouble, I know that I could talk to someone and they would not only recognize what I was going through, but they would understand and be prepared to help.


STUDENT PROFILES Becky Van Natten BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I’m Lumbee Indian and my hometown is Lumberton, North Carolina. I was fortunate to have grown up in a rural native community, with a large, tight knit family. Thanks to my grandmother, I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a nurse. I watched and helped her care for the ill and I realized I wanted to help others just like her. My grandmother was a strong and caring woman, who taught me to respect, love and cherish our elders. Our elders are our past and they guide our future. This journey started almost 20 years ago, when I became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). I later spent a year studying as an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Then it’s been years pecking away at the prerequisites for the RN program. It hasn’t been easy, but the experience I gained along the journey will prove useful, since I’m now a Registered Nurse! The RRANN program has helped in so many ways, from sharing cultures, financial assistance, tutoring and the fact that I have others to share words of comfort and encouragement. When dropping by the RRANN offices, I could always count on receiving a smile and a pleasant greeting . . . which meant so much when I was having a hectic day at school. ~~~~~

Maria Nashalook

AAS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I’m Inupiaq Eskimo from Unalakleet, Alaska and I pursued nursing because I believe healthcare is an essential element in the life and everyone should have the opportunity to receive the best healthcare possible. I also believe nursing has so many great opportunities and it provides a wide variety of settings to work in, plus I’ve always wanted to see more Alaska Natives in the healthcare profession. After graduation, my dream is to serve my community! I’d like to work at Alaska Native Medical Center and be a good role model for the Native community.


RRANN has provided great support, both financially and academically. Plus, they promote students to be active in the community.

STUDENT PROFILES Chelsea Johnson BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I’m an Athabascan and originally from Tanana. I first became interested in nursing because I’m a very caring person and I feel my personality fits into the nursing philosophy. However I’ve continued in nursing because I realized that nurses make a tremendous difference in a patients emotional and physical well being. I have a strong desire to serve the people within my community, as well as American Indians and other Indigenous people. My main goal after graduation is to first pass the NCLEX! Then my plans include finding a good job and becoming a Commissioned Officer in the Air National Guard. I would also like an opportunity to teach within the School of Nursing, participate in mission trips and in the future, return to school for an advance degree. The RRANN program has been an excellent place for my well-being, moral support and encouragement. I can remember times as a Pre-Nursing student that I went to Lunch in the Lounge feeling so discouraged. However, I can also remember leaving Lunch in the Lounge energized because of the emotional support and friendship that I received! RRANN is a great program with wonderful opportunities to network and fellowship with like-minded individuals and I’m very thankful for those opportunities. Chelsea Johnson was asked to be the student speaker, during the 2009 Pinning ceremony! ~~~~~




~~~~~ We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos. We are people and we want to be respected, not to be victims of intolerance and racism. ----Rigoberta Menchu, Guatemala Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1992



In HONOR OF OUR RRANN and NWD GRADUATES! "Give Honor ToWhom Honor is Due" --- Romans



UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA SOUTHEAST Robert (Bob) Love Student Success Facilitator (Sitka) UAS Campus The fourth annual World of Work (WOW) Job and Career Fair took place at the Centennial Hall in Sitka, Alaska, February 11th - February 12th. Designed primarily to help local high school students better understand the job market, the WOW Fair attracts employers from around the state of Alaska. The job fair is also open to the public and organizers who are hoping that Sitkans who are between jobs or who are looking for a new career, will turn out for the event. This year, representatives of about 40 companies, agencies and organizations will be on hand for the WOW Fair. WOW is aimed primarily at the 900 or so students attending Pacific, Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe high schools. During the two-day fair, schools will give all students about an hour to review the informative offerings. Each grade level 9th - 12th can attend the breakout session of their choice. A popular choice this year was “Hot Jobs in Health Care for Alaska.” We’re all looking forward to the next WOW, which will be on:

February 17, 2010 - February 18, 2010 Mark Your Calendar!

~~~~~ Although we are in different boats you in your boat and we in our canoe we share the same river of life. --Chief Oren Lyons, Onandaga Nation


Jackie Pflaum, RNC, DNSc RRANN/NWDP Project Director 907.786.4574 An itinerant public health nurse in the Yukon Kuskokwim region before joining the University of Alaska Anchorage faculty in 1979, Jackie Pflaum is now the Associate Director of the School of Nursing. Her research in nursing history includes a biography of Elinor Gregg, first Nursing Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Randi Madison Madison--Jacobs RRANN/NWDP Coordinator 907.786.6944 Originally from Spokane, Washington, Randi Madison-Jacobs came to Alaska in 1996 to do an internship with the City of Valdez Parks and Recreation. With family roots in Point Hope, Alaska, her goal is to advance the integration of indigenous knowledge into higher education and she is currently working on her Masters degree in Cross-Cultural Studies, with a focus on Indigenous knowledge.

Cyrenthia Newton RRANN/NWDP Administrative Secretary/Graphic Artist 907.786.6972 As a “rookie” to not only the University scene, but to Nursing as well, Cyrenthia Newton works as the Administrative Secretary, Graphic Artist and Web Master to the RRANN and NWD programs. Proficient in organization, with strong leadership qualities, Cyrenthia makes sure the Facilitators have what they need in order to assist the students. She also ensures that the “look” of both programs are professional and accurate to the Vision.

Pamela Read RRANN/NWDP/School of Nursing Tutor Coordinator 907.786.4553 A “transplant” from California, Pamela Read has been in Alaska for 16 winters. Graduated from UAA’s School of Nursing in December 2005, Pamela has begun working on her Masters in Psych Nursing. In addition to schooling, she also works with children at a local Behavioral Hospital. She’s been tutoring for the last four years because she loves helping students achieve their educational goals and now holds the title as the RRANN/NWD Tutor Coordinator!”

Marlene McCabe RRANN/NWDP Student Success Facilitator 907.786.4527 Considered a “compassionate artist”, Marlene McCabe is currently working with the RRANN/NWD program. Her responsibilities consist of facilitating the success of the Nursing Workforce Diversity students. A counselor with a specilization in art therapy, Marlene is always looking for ways to use the creative process to help others.

Andrea Cordano RRANN Student Success Facilitator 907.786.4714 After working years in Michigan and Colorado, Andrea Cordano returned to Alaska for good in 2001. Working within a federal grant that required frequent travel into bush villages, Andrea actually became familiar with RRANN through the programs previous Coordinator and Student Success Facilitator. With degrees in Education and Counseling Psychology, Andrea works exclusive with RRANN’s Pre-Nursing students.

Evelyn Pensgard RRANN/NWDP Student Success Facilitator (Bethel) 907.543.4542 Born and raised in the community of Bethel, Evelyn Pensgard is not only the Student Success Facilitator for the RRANN/NWD program, working with the students in Bethel, but she’s also the Academic Advisor for the UAF-Kuskokwim Campus. Evelyn says she; “loves this job and finds it very rewarding!”

Robert (Bob) Love RRANN/NWDP Student Success Facilitator (Southeast) 907.747.7777 With 25 years of educating the youth of Alaska, Robert (Bob) Love has served our state as a principal, teacher and counselor for Craig and Mt. Edgecumbe City Schools. Currently housed at the University of Alaska Sitka campus, Bob works with the students of Southeast Alaska (Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan) in the capacity as Facilitator. He also works within the Career Education Department as a Recruitment Specialist.

STUDENT PROFILES Yvonne Bay BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a nurse! I wanted to help women who were going to have babies, because although I was only 12 years old at the time, I loved babies and I wanted to be a mom. Upon graduating from high school, I saw clearly into my future and decided that college was not the route I wanted to take. I married at the very young age of 19 and had my first baby before my 21st birthday. However, my husband and I divorced shortly after our son was born, but I realized that I had no education and since I really wanted to stay home and raise my child, I had to go on welfare for support. In 1993 I met a nice military man who I married when I was 22 and in 1994, his three little girls came to live with us. In addition, later that year, I gave birth to our first child together, which brought the total child count to five. So needless to say, college was still not the route for me. And to widen the route even further, in 1999, we moved to Alaska and by that time, I’d given birth to two more children. Even the very thought of college was an adventure! However in 2000, when our youngest child was three, I did make the decision to attend college, so I enrolled at a local community college. I remember being so scared and I had to have my husband come with me and help me just to get through the paperwork. But the journey had began and as I started focusing on the prerequisites for the nursing program and only two weeks into school, I realized that I was pregnant with our eight child! At that point, I refused to give up and I went a full three semesters, full time, before I felt that I just couldn’t take any more. So I decided to break for a couple of years and when the time came around again, I completed all the prerequisites and applied to the nursing program. Once approved, it took an additional year before there was an available spot for me, but while I waited for that spot, I stayed in school and obtained my Associates degree. Being in the program was a struggle! The workload was a lot to get used to and the pace was just as difficult. Getting through the first semester was the toughest, but I had so many people cheer me on. I’ve made some very close friends and their love and support helped me make it through. As I stand here now, a BS Nursing Graduate, I’m still amazed at this journey. Thank you my Friends for being such a wonderful support to me! Thank you my family for not giving up on me and enduring all the time that I needed to stay at school to study. As I look back at these last five semesters, all I can say to you is, “don’t EVER give up!”


STUDENT PROFILES E.Lynei Holder BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I was a flight attendant for United Airlines on September 11, 2001 and I along with the rest of the nation was horrified, as I watched terrorists use my workplace as a weapon and fly into the World Trade Center! Although I loved flying and traveling around the world, I really had to re-examine my priorities after the attacks, because traveling for fun started to feel selfish. My priorities were my family, friends and community and I felt a strong need to “give back” in a positive way. Since I was used to being around people who were either afraid to fly, had minor ailments during flights and frequently spoke with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) regarding medical issues of passengers, I thought nursing would be a good profession to explore. And once I started pursuing the training, I had several people to actually urge me to become a nurse. I wasn’t confident I could handle the stress involved with going to school, so I elected to take just a couple of classes, but after the first Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) class, I was hooked! I couldn’t learn enough about the body and how it worked. The best things that I did during nursing school were to keep my books, have a constant study partner and take regular time for myself. That first class that you take under Bernice Carmon is really the foundation of your whole life as a nurse. The class is about balancing the lives of patients, families, co-workers and yourself. I was also happy to have my books from each semester to use as a reference, when writing care plans. Having Tesfa Subani as a study partner was a blessing as well! He really helped me see different view points and kept me on track when we were studying. He’s the mnemonic king and I still use some of the things he came up with. I learned to listen more and talk less. Taking a day off after a test and giving myself a special treat at the end of each semester always gave me the energy to take on yet another semester.


I started out wanting to be an EMT and now I find myself mostly interested in Community Health and Mental Health Nursing. I would love to work for a clinic dealing with the special needs population. I believe these areas encompass both physical and mental health issues. I have been blessed with a wonderful family and friends, who believe in me and were ALWAYS there to lend a helping hand whenever I needed it.

STUDENT PROFILES Charlot Main BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage There’s no question about it; “Nursing School is not easy!” The decision to enter the profession may come straightforward to some, but for me, a natural progression took place from high school to the nursing prerequisites and then only to be placed on a waiting list for months to start the “real” classes. Followed by months to sit on the decision, to decide if the job will in fact, make you happy when you’re out in the real world and are able to put the education to use. The wait seems like forever, but in reality, the wait prepares you for what is to come. Longer than normal classes, pre clinical paperwork, care plans and early morning clinical days are what lay ahead in nursing school. The wait gives you time -time for yourself, because once you start the classes, time for yourself becomes a rarity. Instead it’s filled with classes, group projects, homework, and studying. It takes work to keep in touch with friends, that are outside the program. They are not living the same day-to-day, week-to-week, semester-to-semester life that you are. Those that are, become the closest friends you could ask for, because they hold you up, they help you out and they grow with you. And as each semester is behind you, the end becomes that much more of a reality. The end of seeing those faces each day, the end of complaining about assignments together and the end of late-night study sessions. But what happens when you reach the end? Now that the classes are done and the time has come to choose what area to pursue. There are so many choices, but what pushes you to practice in a certain area? Experience, interest, salary, city? I propose to you that it is none of those things! It’s about CHOICES! Life is about choices. Happiness is linked to those same choices and you make the choice to DECIDE to be happy in the life that you’ve chosen to live. To be happy in whatever comes your way. It’s all up to choosing how you look at situations and be content with them. I’m happy with my choice to be a nurse! My choice to maintain the friendships I’ve made. I encourage you to also, “make YOUR choice and CHOOSE to be HAPPY!”


Live Authentically! Be the person you truly are, and the sincerity of your efforts will bring a wonderful richness to your life. -- Ralph Marston


STUDENT PROFILES Grantley Quintyne BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I’m originally from Barbados in the Caribbean and I started the nursing program, September 2007 -but the journey began 11 years ago as an Army Soldier, taking one class at a time, whenever the opportunity presented itself. It took me a total of 10 years to meet the prerequisites for nursing school and believe me, it was not easy. To get here, I took classes in the evening, while working a part-time job and endured through many family crises; but at last . . . I’m here! There are many reasons why I chose to be a nurse, but the most important one I believe is to have a versatile profession, where I will always possess the means to provide for my family regardless of the location. Surviving nursing school depended on me being in constant communication with God, recognizing the warning signs of stress and relieving that stress, adequate sleep, the support of my loving family and my fellow sisters and brothers in the program. In this program, you truly need someone to lean on, not only during hard times, but also during times of celebration. I know for a fact that I could not have made this journey without my nursing family and no distance will remove the fond memories, the triumphs, setbacks and friendships that we shared and will continue to share. The main piece of advice I’d like to pass onto you, that definitely helped me was, “do not overwhelm yourself and become consumed with the big picture!” Take your journey one step at a time, one day at a time, one class at a time. From the moment that I looked at the process from that perspective, things became easier. Upon successfully passing the NCLEX, I will return to the Army and become a Registered Nurse within the Army Nurse Corps. My goal is to retire in 2019, at the “glorious” age of 52. I intend at some point between now and then to obtain my Masters as an Adult Nurse Practitioner. I encourage you -my peers -to work hard, stay focused on success -but ENJOY your nursing experience. I know that I will see many of you in the near future and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. So for now, good luck and God Bless each and every one of you in your future endeavors!



STUDENT PROFILES There’s a poster at UAA, in the PSB with pictures of male nurses and it asks the question, “Are you man enough to be a Nurse?” And I can honestly say, “YES, I am indeed man enough!” While it wasn’t as difficult as a deployment into a war zone, it was certainly challenging. However, with the support of my dear wife and family, I made it through the program and was lucky enough to make good friends that also helped tremendously. A few pieces of advice I would give to aspiring nursing students: 1.

Stay Positive!

2. Figure out what motivates you and let it motivate you. 3. Ask yourself, “Is nursing REALLY what I want to do?” And if it is -then “go for it!” 4. Stay Focused! 5. Study and do well on EVERY test. 6. Take it “one day at a time”. 7. Pay attention in class. 8. While school is important, there is “life beyond the program . . . so enjoy your life!” One thing I always kept in mind is that life is work and there are people depending on me to be successful. Once I accepted that difficult reality and set my priorities, things are easier to deal with. I can’t forget to mention how important the Nursing Workforce Diversity Program (NWDP) was to my personal success! Thanks to one of my classmates, I discovered this program. Being born in the Philippines and migrating to America, I’m used to being a minority -that’s just the way it is. But this time being a poor, first generation college graduate Filipino actually worked in my favor. One benefit of the program was the monthly stipend, however, the more significant benefits include getting to share your experiences with other minorities and the tutoring assistance. Through the meetings, I got the chance to meet with other people in the nursing program and it was great to get advice and tips from students who were semesters ahead. It’s a great program and it deserves more support and attention. What are my future plans? Interestingly enough, after 20 years, I just might start another career as a nurse in the military (Army or National Guard) or one of the hospitals within Anchorage. I really don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that with the support from my family and friends, along with the training, skills and knowledge I’ve gained as a graduate of the UAA School of Nursing Program, I’m confident that the future is bright and that I’ll finally be working and thriving in a worthwhile career . . . as a Nurse! ~~~~~ The only things worth learning are the things you learn after you know it all. -Harry S. Truman


STUDENT PROFILES Elecon Reformado BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage Why Nursing? Interesting question. And the simple answer would be . . . Why not Nursing? But that wouldn’t be much of an story, so for a longer and more detailed answer -please read on. In 1989 right out of high school, I joined the Army and after a hard, three-year active service detail, I came home to Anchorage and signed up with the Alaska Army National Guard. I was happy with their one weekend a month and two weeks a year policy, plus they offered some great benefits. And with the help of their tuition assistance, I was able to earn a Bachelors in Psychology from UAA in 1996. Later that year, I got accepted into the Officer Candidate School and became a Commissioned Officer. In between guard duty, I held several great civilian positions and one was a cashier. It so happened that the cashier to the left of me also had a psychology degree and our running joke was that “an expensive psychology degree will definitely get you a job as a cashier.” But I secretly promised myself that if I ever went back to school, I’d get a degree that was actually worth something. So while working at another civilian job, I read an article about the nursing shortage and how this shortage would lead to a national crisis in the years to come. I knew that a job in high demand, requiring lots of training meant career opportunities and of course, lots of money. I also realized it was traditionally classified as a “woman’s” job, but I considered the pay and reasoned that the women in nursing probably have the right idea. So I researched the prerequisites and requirements and immediately thought this to be an “impossible’ degree” to obtain . . . no wonder there’s a shortage! But my wife (who has a nursing degree from the Philippines) and I discussed the changing of directions and somehow the discussion ended with me saying to her, “anyone can get a nursing degree”, to which she replied, “if anyone can do it, then why can’t you?” And although there were a combination of factors and many reasons that helped me commit to this decision, the main reason was that I wanted to prove something to my wife.


After three years, I’d finished the prerequisites and got accepted into the majors program for either Fall 2006 or Spring 2007, but due to a National Guard mobilization, I ended up on a 15-month deployment for Afghanistan. So needless to say, my nursing career was deferred for several semesters. However, during that time of a very difficult deployment, I couldn’t stop thinking about getting back to my wife, my daughter and life back in the good USA. The Afghanistan deployment was definitely the most difficult period of my life. It took a physical, mental and emotional toll on me and I was thinking of actually delaying school for another semester. But after I’d come home, I figured that since I’d survived being a company commander with a deployed unit in Afghanistan, I can probably handle nursing school. I came home in May 2007 and got ready for the Fall 2007 semester.

STUDENT PROFILES Cheridah Wilson AAS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Bethel and UAA Anchorage I was born and bred in Jamaica, which is a beautiful West Indian island, in the Caribbean. I’m the seventh of nine children and even though most of my family are now naturalized Americans living in Florida, my 86 year old mother still lives in Jamaica. My only son whose an attorney, lives in Virginia and I’m also the proud grandma to the most precious little boy in the world, named Amiri. I currently live in Bethel, Alaska and work at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) and I’ve been an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for the past 15 years. I also have over seven years experience in Traveling Nursing and I’ve traveled extensively to countries such as, Israel, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Zimbawe, Russian, Japan, Scandinavian and Greece. But for recreation, I love to simply read and play golf. I became a nurse because I’m a people person. In my country, tourism is our main industry and we therefore have a passion to care for people. After my son was born, I watched him have seizures for the first three years of his life and I vowed that I would become a nurse to give back something for the exceptional care that he received from the nurses and doctors. I started out in one of the clinics in Bethel and after six months, I was transferred to Obstetrics (OB) where I worked for two years. I later joined the Inpatient Unit where I’ve been ever since. I must say that although I was only supposed to be in Bethel for six months, I fell in love with the culture and it’s people and found them to be the most appreciative clients I’ve ever cared for! I’m now embedded in the JamEskimo (Jamaican Eskimo) culture. Nursing school was extremely difficult for me as I had to work full-time for the entire two years. But thanks to some wonderful nurses (Melody Jordan and Tayma McClain) who switched shifts with me, I was able to get through it. I had to repeat one class this last semester and although I was devastated, thanks to my co-workers, the doctors at YKHC and other students, I was able to complete the class and graduate! I’d like to also mention Dr. Jane McClure, who provided me with round-trip tickets back and forth to Bethel and my new found friends in Eagle River, Dr. Peter Osterbauer and Raquel Osterbauer who gave me FREE accommodations for three-months, when I had to stay in Anchorage. I will be forever grateful to them all. For the new and current students, I would strongly advise that you get into a study group of no more than 4 or 5. Get all the study material you can find and if you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t let the instructor move on before you understand! I also need to thank the Nursing Workforce Diversity program (NWDP) for the monthly stipend! There’s no way I could have done it without that financial support. And lastly, I must thank YKHC for giving me the opportunity to go to Anchorage, so I could complete the program.


STUDENT PROFILES Tesfa Subani BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage As a child growing up in Silver Spring Maryland, I often envisioned myself playing football for the Washington Redskins, but alas, I was too small and my football IQ was often in question by those around me. After high school I joined the military, but soon realized that my non-domineering personality was not an asset for the Army. So after other pointless endeavors such as JC Penny and Blockbuster Video, I decided to give nursing school a shot and so far, well at least according to my girlfriend, this has been my niche! She remarks that, although I lack the adequate people skills, I make up for it in how I treat and care for others . . . but what exactly does she know! (smile) Nursing school was very hard for me and there were several times that I wanted to quit. But to be perfectly honest, student loans, a loving family, along with an encouraging girlfriend wouldn’t allow that to be my reality. I remember spending more time at the library than I did at home. Barnes & Nobles became my weekend girlfriend and I had to study very hard, because the material didn’t come as easy for me as it appeared to come for others. However, because of the fact that I remained faithful to my studies, I’ve ended up not only graduating, but “graduating with honors!” My advice for other students in the nursing program is to find a good study partner who is more afraid of failing than you. they tend to be more dedicated and help keep you on track. Also every now and then, take time for your family. Nursing school is so intense, but spending a little down time will reboot your brain and not to mention, relieve stress. Spend time reading other books than “Fundamentals of Nursing” (by the way, I’m selling mine). And remember this, “lots of other people have passed these same nursing courses . . . and so can you!”



The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore." --Anonymous

STUDENT PROFILES Joel DeGuzman BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I was born and raised by my humble parents from the Philippines. Being only high school graduates themselves, they made every effort to send all five of their children to college. I was able to finish Business Management and help in my mother’s family business. When I migrated to the United States, I saw career opportunities in the field of nursing. But as I was lacking funds for school, the Army offered not only adventure, but three-meals a day, a cot and college money! “Be all that you can be” was the Army’s slogan and 13 years later, under the Army Enlisted Commissioning Program (AECP), I’ve graduated with a Baccalaureate of Science (BS) nursing degree . . . so I guess their slogan is true! How did I survive Nursing School? 1. The poem, “Don’t Quit!” had been my companion reading, especially on the days I felt overwhelmed with school work. Read it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. 2. Have a “Positive Mental Attitude!” No use carrying around grief and complaints in your bookbag. 3. Value friendships in school. They can be your source of inspiration and a shoulder to cry on when everything is just so hopeless. 4. I can not understate “Divine Intervention!” Prayer goes a long way and YES, I did pray at times during examinations! 5. And just like every graduate of this school . . . “Study Hard!” After passing the NCLEX, I will be commissioned as an Officer in the Army Nurse Corp and I’ll be stationed at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. I plan to work in the Emergency Department and my long term goal is to be an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. ~~~~~

Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. --Abigail Adams, 1780


STUDENT PROFILES Andrea B.T.Jones BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I was born and raised in California and I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was around nine years old. I can remember my mother, who was always baking or cooking for her friends when they were sick and she always found time to visit the elderly in the nursing homes. She would make them a home cooked meal, bring me along and they would talk about the “good ole days.” I loved to go with her because I liked hearing the stories they told, but I noticed some of the elderly people there had no family or friends coming to visit them. So that’s when I decided that when I grew up, I was going to be a nurse, so that I could be there for the elderly. Nursing school has been tough, but I feel it was well worth the headaches and binge eating on chocolates, when things got stressful. I finally made it and I hope to go on to accomplish another dream of mine . . . to be an Anesthetist. I give thanks to God FIRST, then to my mom for inspiring me. My family for putting up with my constant studying and not being able to spend a lot of time with them. Thank you all! ~~~~~

Rosemarie Buenarte BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage I was born in the Philippines and immigrated in the United States last 1996. My first job was in the health field and that job opened the opportunity for me to be in nursing school. It’s been a dream come true being in the nursing program, because I’ve always been driven to care and help others.


It’s been a long, hard road to get to where I am today! Raising a family, working a job and going to school full-time for my Baccalaureate of Science (BS) degree. There were sleepless nights and studying up into the wee hours of the morning, but it’s finally paid off! I’m thankful to the Nursing Workforce Diversity program (NWDP) that’s been supporting all of us to achieve our goal. I would also like to thank a dear friend Joe, who’s been my mentor and who gave me this opportunity of a lifetime . . . EDUCATION! And lastly, to my dear family, my husband and daughter for helping me accomplish my dream. Without all of their support, I know I would not be where I am today.

STUDENT PROFILES In this Faith, I would first and foremost thank God Almighty who made this all possible! For without Him, I would not have made it through nursing school. To Him I give All the Glory and Thanks! He’s my Rock and in Him, I stand strong . . . Thank You Lord! I also want to thank my family for being there for me all through nursing school -especially my loving husband, who was most of the time a mommy and daddy to the kids. And to my children for being patient with not having mommy around most of the time. My mom for her great support in helping out with the kids. My best friend and her husband for all of their help with the kids. Also, many thanks to all of my Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) brothers and sisters, for all of their support and prayers. May the Almighty God Bless Everyone and I wish you all the Best in your endeavors . . . in Jesus Name, Amen!

~~~~~ “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

--Mohandas K. Gandhi


STUDENT PROFILES Henrietta Emokidi BS Nursing Graduate, Spring 2009 UAA Anchorage By nature I’m a very caring individual, who loves to reach out in any way possible and that’s why I decided to go into the nursing field. I started by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), taking care of patients in their own homes, as well as in the hospital. And it was while in the hospital I realized that I could contribute more to helping the sick, if I were a nurse. So I decided to pursue a degree in nursing, to help make a difference in the lives of people . . . and I’m really glad I made that decision! I’ve finally graduated with a Baccalaureate of Science (BS) and although it was challening, it was exciting and I learned that I came into the program soft, but I’m leaving tough and prepared to deal with whatever life throws at me. I decided to list some tips on how to survive and the first one is: 1. Be sure that you are in the right profession and that this is where you really want to be. 2. Be patient and take each day as it comes, but do not procrastinate on your readings or assignments. 3. Learn how to study alone FIRST, then look for a partner or partners to study with. I used to read alone, but towards the end I had a partner. We used to also get together and quiz each other during exams and this too really helped. But if you get a partner, make sure it’s all study and only a little chit-chat, because time is vital and it should not be wasted! I guess what I’m saying is simply find your own study pattern first, then look for a partner. 4. Never be scared or shy to ask your classmates or instructors questions, because no question is stupid or dumb. If you’re in doubt, “ask for help!” Your instructors are always there for you. 5. Always follow the instructions given to the “T”, whenever you’re asked to write a paper. This is the only way you’ll get a good grade. 6. Don’t underrate ANY quiz or assignment that has 1% as a grade, because they all add up in the end . . . remember, they don’t round up your grade. If you score 74.99%, that’s a D and this is where that 1% really counts. So take it seriously! The roads to the end of this program are rough, but remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel . . . “Keep your eyes on it, work hard and be very prayful” and I promise you, you’ll make it!


I’m married with three very small children, working a full-time, night job and yes, I’m crazy (I know that’s what you’re thinking), but it is possible if you’re determined and you put your heart into whatever you want to do.

STUDENT PROFILES Aisha Merced BS Nursing Graduate, Fall 2008 UAA Anchorage I’m Dominican and Puertorican and was born in Anchorage, but moved to California when I was in elementary school. Although it took me five years, I finally graduated December 2008 with my Baccalaureate of Science (BS) but I must admit, I never thought this day would come . . . but it has and I’m loving every minute! I’m the oldest of seven and I always wanted my siblings to know that we can become someone in life. We didn’t have an ideal childhood, but we were always provided with what we needed to survive. I’m so thankful for my family and my sorority sisters, for the support they gave me through nursing school. I discovered through nursing school that I want to work in Mental Health, especially with adolescents. I finished my preceptorship at Providence Discovery Unit and after I pass the NCLEX, I plan to move to North Carolina or New York and work in a residential treatment center for Adolescents or the Office of Children’s Services (OCS). I belive there are too many kids being put in the system and are not being well cared for. But I want to advocate for children who can’t advocate for themselves. I believe that children are our future and together we need to protect them. ~~~~~

Gaojua (Juliet) Yang BS Nursing Graduate, Fall 2008 UAA Anchorage

I’m Hmong and although we do not have a country, we have an extensive history! We originated in China but today we are dispersed all over the world, with the majority of us residing in Laos, Thailand and the United States. The reason I wanted to become a nurse was because I enjoy helping people. My family never understood the importance of keeping a healthy lifestyle and it became so foreign to me, that it drove me to nursing school. I began the nursing program in the Summer of 2006. Surviving the program was another challenge. However, I overcame my challenges by realizing the importance in actually reading the text books. After graduation, I plan on taking the NCLEX and finding a job in one of the medical surgical units within Anchorage. My future goal involves going back to school for my Family Nurse Practitioner degree and license.


STUDENT PROFILES Meriam Middaugh BS Nursing Graudate, Fall 2008 UAA Anchorage I was born and raised in the Philippines. After high school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do or if I made the decision to go to college - what I’d like to study. However, my older sister had encouraged me to take some nursing courses. So after high school, I attended nursing school for two years and while there, I met this wonderful man from Alaska, married him and then decided to quit nursing school altogether. At first, I thought I didn’t like nursing because of all the nurses’ responsibilities to patients, but after living in Alaska for a few months, I was bored. So I looked up jobs online and checked out newspapers to see if there were any positions available within the community. I found RN’s to be in demand everywhere and I soon realized that not finishing nursing school was a total regret! So in 2000, I decided to continue nursing school at Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) and after completing my prerequisites, the family (which by then consisted of my husband and our two daughters, ages 13 and 10) moved to Anchorage and I finished the required courses at UAA. Despite facing psychological trauma, perseverance, patience and hard work were personal skills that helped me survive nursing school. The hurdles that I faced actually brought me closer to my Lord Jesus Christ and there were numerous times that I felt I had no other help at all. I knew the only way I was going to survive nursing school was to get His help, so hard work, honesty and Faith in God were my basic contributors to success. Hard work meant having to wake up around 1 to 2 am every day and make sure that I got at least six hours of solid sleep every night. I would always give myself time to study in the morning before I went to school or to clinical sites and I would always designate my homework in the afternoon. This enabled me to avoid procrastination. After graduation, I plan to self-review for NCLEX and afterwards, my daughters and I will head to the Philippines for a six-week vacation, which is my graduation gift! While working as a nurse, I plan to continue my education, by completing the remaining six classes required for the Pre-Med Program and then achieve even greater things from there. ~~~~~


“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness . . . You have to catch it yourself."

--Ben Franklin




Celebrating Our Graduates!


SPRING & SUMMER 2008 Editions


Graduate Student Profiles



~ The R RRANN NWD Crew

School of Nursing

University of Alaska Anchorage

Andrea Jones / Tesfa Subani / Elecon Reformado / Yvonne Bay / Chelsea Johnson / Rosemarie Buenarte / Henrietta Emokidi / Joel DeGuzman / Kristine Lubaton / Grantley Quintyne / Charlot Main / Lynei Holder

2008 FALL GRADUATES 2009 SPRING GRADUATES - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage

Melissa Houston Crystal Lue Aisha Merced Meriam Middaugh Gaojua (Juliet) Yang


Danica Broerman Cheridah Wilson

AAS - Bethel AAS - Bethel/Anchorage

Yvonne Bay Rosemarie Buenarte Joel DeGuzman Henrietta Emokidi Escorita Holder Andrea Jones Kristine Lubaton Charlot Main Grantley Quintyne Elecon Reformado Tesfa Sabani


- Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage - Anchorage

Aisha Merced / Melissa Houston / Crystal Lue / Juliet Yang / Meriam Middaugh

UAA is an EO/AA Employer and Educational Instutution

RRANN/NWDP Newsletter  

Educational Student Magazine