Nensi Salamurovic made her first trip to Fitchburg State University count.
"The first time I got in touch with them, they explained that my entire coursework was available online, but I was welcome to attend my graduation on campus," Salamurovic said. "I was the only one of the online students in my program at the graduation ceremony. I felt special, because I accomplished a lot. I came to the United States in 2003, and I didn't speak English. For me, earning my degree was a big accomplishment."
Salamurovic, who is from the former Yugoslavia (specifically Bosnia and Herzegovina), graduated from the RN to BS in Nursing online program in December 2016. Two months later, she landed the job she coveted as a nurse at Lynn Public Schools in Lynn, Mass.
"I worked for a Head Start program for three years," she explained. "I applied for a nursing position at the public school in Lynn, but the job required a bachelor's degree. I was enrolled in a program at Fitchburg State and just had a few courses to finish. They suggested I contact them when I graduated and so I did and they hired me."
Salamurovic and her family moved to Serbia when the Bosnian War started in 1992.
"I was studying medicine to become a doctor in my country," she said. "I finished four years, but I couldn't finish it because the war started. The medical field was always my passion. Once I finished my English classes, I thought I would go into the medical field, but I couldn't go to become a doctor. It was expensive, and I had to work full time. So I decided to go to the nursing school."
Salamurovic said she wanted to work for a public school because she likes the community setting and helping families better understand the importance of good healthcare.
Salamurovic was excited to learn that healthcare is evolving faster in the United States than in Eastern Europe.
"I found out the nurses here do a lot and are a part of the patients' life," she said. "I might consider continuing my education in a field of public health."
Fitchburg State's online RN to BS in Nursing program had the right combination of factors for Salamurovic.
"When I went online to look for a program, I had to make sure it was affordable," she said. "When I compared Fitchburg State with the other schools, they were way more expensive. I have some friends who finished their associate degrees at other schools and are in a lot of debt. I don't know how they're going to pay it off."
Salamurovic also said the online format was important, so she could maintain her full-time job and fit school into her schedule.
"For every class, I managed my own time," she explained. "Most of the time I would do most of the work on the weekend."
Salamurovic was also impressed with the level of personal attention from the university.
"Now, I speak English, but in the past there were times when language was a barrier," she said. "Fitchburg State made me feel very comfortable. There were situations when I did not understand something, for example, financial aid and loans. The staff would explain it step-by-step to me and send me an email to make sure I understood. It was a really nice experience. I highly recommend the program."
Laying the Foundation
Even with her extensive background in healthcare, the RN to BS online coursework provided Salamurovic with valuable insight into the nursing profession.
"I learned from all of the courses -- especially Community Health Nursing [NURS 4400]," she said. "It's a very important part when you work with the community in a public setting."
Salamurovic said her final course, the RN to BS in Nursing Capstone [NURS 4600], was also extremely valuable, because it provided hands on training in a new environment.
"Fitchburg State asked me what I'd like to do for my practicum and where I might want to work. As a result, they placed me in the emergency room in Lawrence Memorial Hospital that is close to my home, which was awesome. It was a great experience."
Now that Salamurovic is a Fitchburg State alumna, she said she just might return for a master's degree.
"I would like to thank all of the staff at Fitchburg State for the support they provided. I hope someday I will be back on campus for another graduation ceremony."
Learn more about the Fitchburg State online RN to BS in Nursing program.
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