By MIKE LEE
The DC 37 Education Fund, in partnership with Monroe College, offers a program for United Federation of Nurses and Epidemiologists Local 436 members to receive an accredited Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
The RN to BSN program is an online education program designed to fit around students’ schedules and life, with no mandatory login times. The program also allows students to complete the program in as little as one year.
Colette Thomas, a Local 436 member since 2018, is a Nurse at JHS 226 Virgil I. Grissom in South Ozone Park in Queens.
Thomas began her health care career in the 1980s, starting out as a Licensed Practical Nurse and later earning an advanced nursing degree. She went to work in a catheterization laboratory (“cath lab”) at Christ Hospital in New Jersey, and later at Brooklyn Hospital.
“This was my passion,” Thomas said.
Unfortunately, Thomas had to stop working in the field she loved.
“After I came down with lupus, it eventually became hard to move around because you have to wear a lead suit in the lab,” Thomas said. “When I first started, lead suits weighed a good 25 pounds, and I’m not a big person. I’m running around the room, and it got to be just a little bit too much.”
“So I had to resign. While looking for what to do next, I saw an advertisement for a school nurse,” Thomas said. “I was hired and began working in schools for the Department of Health.”
Later, she received an email from DC 37 about the Ed Fund’s BSN program with Monroe College. “And the rest is history,” Thomas said.
“The program was intense. It really is self-paced. There is a lot of research and writing, and you have to be on point because the professors are looking for you to provide your best work.” Thomas said.
Thomas completed her coursework and finished her degree last December. She also received financial aid for the courses directly related to nursing.
“It was an awesome experience. Devoting the necessary study time and availing yourself to the resources available pushes you to succeed,” Thomas said. “While the coursework and the pace at times may be daunting, if you stick it out, you can achieve your prize.”
“The program gave me a sense of accomplishment. There are so many more things that I can do now since everything requires a BSN. I’m even contemplating going for my masters. Why not?”