Jessie Chenier ’17, a graduate of the RN-BS program at Elms College & Mount Wachusett Community College, is taking her career to the next level as the new director of health services at Elms.

Enrollment from Overseas

Applying to college can be a stressful experience, even for the most ambitious students — but can you imagine going through the process while serving in Afghanistan as a combat medic for the U.S. Army?

For Jessie Chenier ’17, enrolling in the RN-BS program at Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) involved jumping through some very international hoops.

“Sonia Patota, the off-campus program coordinator at MWCC, was super helpful while I was overseas,” Jessie said. “I was trying to have my friends from home fax paperwork over to her because my access wasn’t that good. She was so patient and helpful.”

As part of her training with the Army, Jessie earned her emergency medical technician (EMT) license. She also became an expert on how to respond to disaster scenarios. Her deployment to Afghanistan left a lasting impression on her, one that she hopes to put into practice as the new director of health services at Elms College.

“The military prepared me for emergency response and safety precautions here on campus, both for the students and the rest of my staff,” the Dudley, MA, resident said. “I’ve already worked with Public Safety on disaster preparedness.”

Making the Move to RN-BS

When Jessie returned home from overseas, she started her journey in the Elms RN-BS program, taking classes on the MWCC campus every week. She also continued to build her expertise as a nurse, working part time in the health center at Elms. The flexibility of the RN-BS program made all the difference to her.

“It’s flexible, so I could still work part time. A lot of the girls in my cohort worked full time,” she said. “Considering all of the satellite campuses now, you can have your pick of where you want to go.”

‘Don’t doubt yourself. A lot of people can come up with any excuse not to instill a change in their lives. If you can break that cycle and apply to the RN-BS program, you can still live your life the way you’re living it, and further your education, too.’

Like many nurses who choose to advance their career by earning their bachelor of science (B.S.) degree, Jessie carefully weighed how her newfound academic schedule would impact her time with family.

“It’s completely doable for somebody who’s trying to do something else with their life, like work or have a family,” she said. “Mount Wachusett is my hometown area, and I was able to see my nana every Friday while still being able to go to class.”

Health in the 21st Century

As she begins her tenure as the director of health services at Elms, Jessie has big plans for leading the health center into the future. Whether she’s bringing digital technology into the center’s operations or researching population health issues, students still come first for her.

“My number one priority is the students,” she said. “I have a lot more on my plate now, but students still come first.”

“I’m hoping that we can still take care of students in the capacity we have been, if not better,” she added.

Photo of RN-BS graduate Jessie Chenier '17, who attended the nursing program at the MWCC off-campus location

For nurses considering going back to school for their B.S. degree, Jessie highly recommends the Elms/MWCC RN-BS program.

“Don’t doubt yourself. A lot of people can come up with any excuse not to instill a change in their lives,” she said. “If you can break that cycle and apply to the RN-BS program, you can still live your life the way you’re living it, and further your education, too.”

Are you a practicing nurse thinking about earning your BS like Jessie did? The RN-BS program at MWCC/Elms offers a flexible, affordable path to earning your degree and advancing your career. Contact us today for more information.