Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing at St. Ambrose helps graduate achieve her dream of becoming an RN


05/16/2024

Valentine Koros' '24 is inherently empathetic and selfless. She can remember so distinctly the feeling of helplessness at the age of eight when she was unable to care for her diabetic mother.

"I could be there for her, but I didn't know what care she required as a diabetic," Koros recalled. "I felt bad I couldn't help her."

It was then that she understood her deep-rooted desire to make sure not only her mother could receive the care she needed, but her community as well. Koros' career path was obvious - nursing. Her journey to get there, however, was not straightforward.

Originally from Kenya, Koros found it difficult to attend nursing school back home. She says a friend living in the United States encouraged her to pursue her passion here instead.

"She said, ‘I know you really want to be a nurse. There are so many opportunities for nursing in the U.S.'"

Koros moved to the United States in 2017. She settled in Minnesota and began the LPN program at a community college in 2018. She graduated from that program in 2020 and started working toward becoming a registered nurse.

She was four semesters into the program that would fulfill her lifelong dream. Then, life threw her a new adversity.

"I got pregnant," Koros said. "I had my baby in February 2021. I dropped out and didn't complete my RN."

The demands of life with a child didn't lend itself to traditional learning. Between taking care of her child and working, Koros found it difficult to attend classes and clinicals. But she wasn't ready to give up on her destiny of becoming a registered nurse.

Enter Presentation College's online LPN to BSN program.

"Presentation was my best option at that time," she said of beginning the program in 2022. "Because it's fully online, that really worked with my schedule and gave me the opportunity to be with my baby and work."

Her dream was back on track. The flexibility of learning from home was exactly what Koros needed. Then, in January 2023, Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota, announced it was closing.

"I was thinking this was the end for me," Koros recalled about hearing the news.

But another announcement coincided. St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, would be taking over Presenation's LPN to BSN online nursing program. If she wanted, Koros could continue her education - uninterrupted - at the Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing at St. Ambrose University.

"The transition was smooth for me," she said. "I had all the help I could. They were there to answer all of my questions."

She continued to feel that support this past year in the program. Koros says professors were easily accessible and always available to answer student questions or provide any assistance they could.

In November 2023, when Koros faced the heartbreaking loss of her pregnancy at 24 weeks the Nano Nagle Online Nursing faculty provided her with the accommodations she needed to mourn her child.

"The instructors were there for me," she said. "They came together and made sure I had time to grieve. They gave me options to take exams at different times. They made sure I would not fall behind."

Koros has faced a myriad of challenges since she first felt called to the healthcare profession all those years ago. There were many occasions she could have let her dream fall to the wayside. But her passion for helping others and her mental fortitude led her to May 2024 - a Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate.

"I'm a strong, hardworking lady just trying to make ends meet," Koros reflected. "I'm a girl that grew up in a very small town, poor family. I'm here trying to make sure I get my degree and make sure I'm taking care of people."

In addition to supporting her family alongside her husband at home in Minnesota, Koros is also the breadwinner for her family back in Africa. It was important to her to provide this financial assistance so that her father could retire.

"Back in Africa, my dad was working in the army. When I came to America, I got this opportunity to go to nursing school and I started earning money. I told my dad to retire because it was not safe for him."

"I'm so proud of myself that I'm able to let my dad stay home. I'm proud that I'm able to do this for him. This really means a lot to me."

Koros will continue working in the nursing home facility she has been at while earning her BSN. She recently received a promotion there to assistant director of nursing and is excited for the abundance of opportunities her BSN will allow.

"It does mean a lot to me," she said of completing her BSN. "It gives me an opportunity to do some stuff that I was not able to do as an LPN and make sure I accomplish everything that I'm supposed to do."

"I love taking care of people. I like making people feel better. I like impacting people's lives."

Valentine Koros ’24

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing at St. Ambrose University

"Completing my BSN gives me an opportunity to do some stuff that I was not able to do as an LPN and make sure I accomplish everything that I'm supposed to do. I love taking care of people. I like making people feel better. I like impacting people's lives.”

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