Student Nurse of the Year

Being a student nurse is more than understanding the human anatomy and how it works. It entails the selfless desire and endless acts of compassion to put someone else’s needs before their own.

Each year, March of Dimes, a charitable organization to end premature birth and labor, acknowledges and rewards student nurses throughout the United States.

This year Katerina Korunovski, SN, a senior at Ramapoo College School of Nursing was awarded Student Nurse of the Year in New Jersey, for her outstanding acts of patient care, and humanitarian service.

“I couldn’t believe I won, and I was actually really surprised,” said Korunovski with excitement in her deep blue eyes.
She has been working at Valley Hospital as a nursing assistant for almost two years and aspires to work as a nurse in the critical care unit upon graduation in May 2017.

“A lot of times I would trade shifts with other nursing assistants where they’d tell me their patient was difficult to deal with, good luck,” said Korunovski. “The reason I want to be a nurse is to help people feel good again,

Although, it is clear all student nurses work hard spending countless hours studying, and working in hospitals, there is something extraordinary about Korunovski. While working in the hospital she has come across many different types of people who felt helpless and stressed in their current situations.

“Sometimes I feel like people just don’t care anymore, they don’t have compassion, or maybe they want to be compassionate but it’s so hard sometimes in the medical field when there’s so much technology, a lot of patients, and other stuff going on, “said Korunovski. “I want to take it a step back and make it more about the patient and compassion towards them because a lot of times we just think of them as a medical diagnosis instead of a person, and it’s much more than that.”

When she works her shifts, she says there are days where she has 12 patients on one floor, while other days she spends hours with only one patient. As a future nurse she feels compelled to give them the tools they could use upon discharge from the hospital.

“I would use some breathing and meditation techniques to help them calm down or try to take it a step back from their situation or whatever’s happening in their life, “ said Korunovski. “Sometimes it does help them so I’m glad that I can give patients insight into a tool that will relax them.”

While she says she can’t always believe all the stories her patients tell her, just being there for them and listening really helps too. She also shared a story of an experience that she had, where not only was she touched but she made a change in someone’s life.

“I can’t be too specific, but I had a patient for a very long time once where we connected, they were on suicide watch and I would leave her poems everyday so when she’d wake up she’d read them,” said Korunovski with a pleasant smile. “When she left, it was like a scene from a movie, she gave me a huge hug, and said Katerina I love you, and blew me a kiss, it was so sweet and brought tears to my eyes.”
She says her experiences have made an impact on her patients as well as showing true compassion, and that’s why she feels that she was awarded Student Nurse of The Year. Korunovski also offered some advice to aspiring student nurses.

“Going through nursing school and being a nurse is not an easy thing, so if your planning on going because it seems like a good job and just to make money it’s not worth it,” said Korunovski. “Do it from your heart, and do it because you really do want to help people.”

Montclair State | New Jersey

Aleksandra Mufceska

Aleksandra is a journalist with a deep love for art, yoga, and travel.