MAHWAH, N.J. – Ramapo College of New Jersey senior Katerina Korunovski knew from an early age that she has wanted to be a nurse.
“When I was younger I always wanted to help people,” said the 21-year-old Garfield native. “Even as a child, if I saw another child was injured, I would bring over a Band-Aid. Just that simple act of doing that made me feel good. So now I’m going to do it now as a nurse.”
Korunovski, who holds a 3.7 GPA and currently works at both Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Hackensack University Medical Center as a nursing assistant, was awarded for her dedication and accomplishments by the March of Dimes -- New Jersey chapter as its Student Nurse of the Year in November.
“When they said my name I was in complete shock,” said Korunovski, who was nominated by Julia Fitzgerald, an assistant professor of nursing at Ramapo College.
“I nominated Katerina based on her academic and clinical performance,” said Fitzgerald, explaining that requirements were a GPA of at least 3.5 and involvement with the community. “Katerina definitely qualified and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Last summer, Korunovski completed a 10-week externship with Hackensack University Medical Center, during which she worked with the surgical intensive care unit and rapid-response teams. The medical center asked her to stay on after the program.
Korunovski, whose mother is also a nurse, plans to pursue a career is critical care. “Even though sometimes there is a lot less bonding because patients are very sick, I feel that if I am there after patient gets out of that situation, if it is possible, then I would like to be there when they are transitioning on to a healthier life. Or, if I could make their passing more peaceful and pain-free. So, I would like to be on both ends of that.”
Korunovski added that she likes “the intimate care that critical care nurses give their patients. They have a limit of three patients for each nurse. So you get to know your patients very well, and their families.”
Korunovski said she doesn’t think she won the March of Dimes award on her own. “I think I represented my school, my teachers and my friends who helped me out throughout the school year -- because without them, I wouldn’t have gotten my grades, my job opportunities. So I’m grateful and I think I represent Ramapo College for that.”