Our Faculty: Nicole Lajoie, BS, RN-BC, Nursing Coordinator

Posted by Kimberly McCoy-Blauser on August 15, 2019 at 2:02 PM

Are you interested in Fitchburg State's nursing programs? As part of the GCE Blog's "Our Faculty" series, we introduce Nicole Lajoie, BS, RN-BC, Nursing Coordinator.

What is your educational background, and what certifications do you have relevant to your program?NicoleLaJoie I earned two associate degrees from Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) in Gardner, one is in general studies with a health track and my second is an associate degree in nursing. After graduating, I worked as a registered nurse for about a year in long-term care. I decided to go back for my bachelor's at Fitchburg State University, because I knew it would open up even more opportunities for career advancement.Register for our free webinar

I enrolled in Fitchburg State's RN to BS in Nursing online program. I was very nervous, because I had always been in a traditional classroom. I was working full-time with two small children and a busy family life, and I knew I couldn’t commit to going to classes every day. I nervously took the plunge and quickly realized that online classes were nothing to be scared of, and that Fitchburg State wanted nothing more than to see me succeed. My advisor was always there if I had any questions, as well as other experienced faculty and staff. I was able to complete my BS in Nursing while working full time!

I have been in community nursing primarily and this has been my biggest interest/passion as an RN. I worked as a school nurse for several years and have my initial school nursing license. I am a certified mental health nurse, and have been working in mental health/visiting nursing for over seven years. As a primary nurse case manager, I was able to assist individuals who have a high risk of re-hospitalization to stay in their homes and community. My strengths are working autonomously, conducting head-to-toe assessments, creating care plans from scratch, implementing interventions with consideration of both mental and physical disease processes, referring patients to resources, advocating for marginalized individuals, and working as the middle man between the patients, families, providers, and community resources to assist patients, ensure their safety, and improve their quality of life. It was very challenging, but also incredibly humbling and meaningful. Now I am very excited to get to step into my new role as Nursing Coordinator for Fitchburg State.

What does your position entail? How do you work with LPN to BS in Nursing Bridge and RN to BS in Nursing students?
I am so excited to be working with the students in the LPN to BS in Nursing and RN to BS in Nursing programs, because I have been that adult learner working toward a degree and I know how difficult it can be, but I also know how amazing it feels to complete your degree and have so many doors open to you.

I will be attending multiple information sessions throughout the year for prospective students with a lot of traveling in the spring to transfer fairs around the state. I'll work with the LPN to BS in Nursing students to assist with program coordination and help to set up lab refreshers and a summer “boot camp” for new students. I will also be placing students in clinical rotations throughout the year and assisting with NACE exam testing three times a year. For RN to BS in Nursing students, I will advise throughout the year, as well as be a go to person for information or concerns. I have been through this program and I am proud to be able to offer support on the other side as students work toward their degrees.

Do you have a favorite/entertaining nursing or teaching moment, if so, what is it?
As an RN case manager, much of my focus was on education and taking the nursing process and interventions into a patient's home and applying orders from providers in a real-world setting. However, some of my favorite teaching moments came from elementary schools, and getting to educate children in an academic setting. I would have a hard time with one experience, but a few favorites include:

  • Explaining to a second grader why he shouldn’t shove plastic toy pieces deep into his ear. (That was a phone call to mom to have his PCP try to fish it out. Yup, it was that deep.)
  • Presenting a hand washing lesson to first graders using glow lotion and black lights. Watching how intrigued they were when they saw how many “germs” they still had all over their hands after washing was really fun!

What career opportunities are available to students who complete the LPN to BS in Nursing Bridge and RN to BS in Nursing programs?
Too many to count! Honestly having your BS in nursing opens so many doors to hospitals, specialty settings, school nursing, community nursing, and so much more. Nursing is so unique because there are many opportunities in diverse areas. Not to mention setting yourself up for furthering your degree in the future if you choose to.

Is there any advice that you normally provide to prospective students?
Yes, go for it! It takes motivation and dedication, but it is so much more manageable than people think. I have been there and I know what it’s like to juggle, and if I can do it, anyone can do it. We have such a dedicated staff and faculty and they collectively have so much experience and so much to offer students professionally. In the end, you will be so happy you chose to bridge and advance your degree.

What do you love about Fitchburg State and/or why would you recommend Fitchburg State to another nurse?
I love how accessible Fitchburg State is. After I completed my degree here in the RN to BS in Nursing program I was quick to suggest my associate degree nurse (ADN) peers do the same. I love how much the faculty and professors want to see students succeed. They genuinely care about the students learning and making the program as accessible and user friendly as they can.

Being an alumna, what is the reason you wanted to return to Fitchburg State for the coordinator position?
I absolutely love being in an academic setting, and hope to further my degree to one day be in a position where I can assist students at an even higher level. This position seemed like a great opportunity to learn about the other side of education, all while getting to work with talented, motivated, and accomplished professionals. I love that I will get to be a cheerleader for busy students who are working so hard to accomplish their goals. It’s very inspiring and motivating to watch students work toward their professional goals and I think it will be greatly rewarding to be a part of that.

Want to learn more about our LPN to BS in Nursing Bridge program? Hear from Nicole live at our free webinar on September 12. Register today!

Register for our free webinar

Topics: Programs, Our Faculty, Webinars