After more than a decade of working directly with patients, Justina Ajuziem is eager to take on a new challenge in her healthcare career.

“I am trying to open a few doors to move away from bedside nursing,” she said. “I am looking more toward remote case management positions in the future.”

That aspiration led Ajuziem to enroll in the online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Nevada State College. She is on track to complete the program in March 2023.

“I had never done online courses while I earned an Associate Degree in Nursing,” she said. “There were a few growing pains, but the teaching staff in this program is phenomenal. They get back to me quickly any time that I have a question.”

Ajuziem is a registered nurse case manager in palliative care at United Health Care in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she has worked for two years.

“I love that the RN to BSN curriculum is based on Dr. Jean Watson’s Caring Theory,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I chose this degree.”

The flexibility of the online format was also a significant factor in Ajuziem going with the online RN to BSN program at Nevada State College.

“It’s one of the highlights for me,” she said. “I would recommend the online format. It’s doable for me as a full-time mom and a full-time employee. It’s very flexible. You can do it on your own time.

“The program is also affordable. I looked into tons of other programs. Plus, my company does tuition reimbursement, so I didn’t have to come out of pocket very much at all.”

All in the Family

Before moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, Ajuziem grew up in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She gained an early appreciation for the healthcare profession in more ways than one.

“My dad, James, was sick with sickle cell anemia,” she said. “He was in the hospital a lot when I was in high school.

“I was around the hospital staff a lot, and there were some nurses there who I thought were amazing. My mom, Betty May, was also a nurse. She’s retired.”

After graduating with an ADN from College of Southern Nevada in 2008, Ajuziem began her career working in long-term care then in hospice care. She enrolled in the online RN to BSN program 12 years later.

“So far, my favorite course has been Theory and Practice of Conscious Dying,” she said. “The course focused on a holistic perspective at the end of life and integrating complementary therapies on a greater scale as opposed to a strictly medicinal approach. What I learned in this course has been invaluable in my role as a palliative care case manager.”

Ajuziem is already using the information she’s gaining through her degree program in her role at United Health Care.

“I have absolutely been able to use what I have learned in my job,” she said. “Everything I have learned so far has helped, and it will continue to help in the future. This program has been awesome.”

Although Ajuziem does not have a specific career goal in mind, she believes she will see a positive change in the number of opportunities available to her upon graduation.

“I believe the degree will help me in my career,” she said. “The bachelor’s degree is going to open doors for me to get away from the bedside.”

Just the Beginning

In addition to working full-time, Ajuziem needed a fully online program to balance school with her family time. She and her husband, Juan, have three children — Justice (20), Jenasis (15) and Jonah (11).

“My family has been supportive of me going back to school for this degree,” she said. “I am going to graduation so they can all see me walk. It’s a huge accomplishment.”

With a few months left in the program, Ajuziem knows the key to her success as an online student is simple.

“Time management is important,” she said. “Being computer literate and learning the online format are also key.”

Ajuziem enjoys spending time with her family and her dog when she’s not at work or concentrating on school, and she looks forward to moving her career forward with a bachelor’s degree on her resume. She knows that Nevada State College is the ideal place for her to lay the groundwork for change.

“I have gained solid value from the RN to BSN program,” she said. “I have already recommended this program to many of my friends and colleagues.”

Learn more about Nevada State College’s online RN to BSN program.