Jean B. Rogene and his wife, Ruth, at Jean’s graduation from the Blue Hills Regional Practical Nursing Program in June 2014. Ruth graduated from the program in 2013. Both graduated with honors. Photo by Judy Bass.
By Judy Bass
There are always emotional high points during the annual graduation ceremony for the students of the Practical Nursing Program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, but an especially memorable one came on June 25, 2014, when Jean B. Rogene of Brockton accepted his certificate from none other than his wife, Ruth, who graduated from this program in 2013. Beaming, she embraced her husband as the two honors grads celebrated the special moment together.
Since then, Rogene’s career has been on an upward trajectory. He is currently working for BAMSI (Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc.), which defines itself on its web site as “a private, non-profit human services organization providing services to adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental illness, behavioral health, and public health needs.”
Rogene, 38, said that he was employed as a home health aide in 2012 by Partners HealthCare, which owns hospitals including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s.
But Rogene knew that there would be even more promising opportunities available to him if he obtained further education in his field.
Throughout the second trimester of the program, Rogene said, he was reticent and wondered whether he was keeping up with his coursework.
Then he spoke to instructor Cathy Mohan, RN, who told him, as Rogene recalled, “Jean, you are doing well. I’m always here for you.”
Today, Mohan warmly says of Rogene, “Jean was an upstanding student committed to his education. Embracing the essence of nursing in his practice, he enriched the lives of those around him. His dedication to the mission and philosophy of the nursing program supported his success and helped him achieve his goals.”
Rogene praises all the Blue Hills Practical Nursing teachers effusively, saying, “All year long, they were there for me every step of the way. They are great ladies, they were wonderful.”
From the beginning, he realized the program was extremely demanding yet worthwhile. “I knew the program was tough,” Rogene said. “You know you’re there for only ten months. Sometimes, there were two or three tests a week. It was really, really hard. If you make it to June [when the program concludes], you will pass the [state] nursing exam. That keeps you going all year long.”
In the words of instructor Brenda Smith-Burke that Rogene remembered well, “This year is yours. You have to concentrate on yourselves.”
Having the support of his family – in addition to his wife, Rogene has three children – was a major factor in his ability to stick with the program and excel. “Myself, if I am healthy, I do whatever it takes. I have my family behind me. My wife was with me all the way. That was a commitment between us – she would go to school first while I supported the family financially, then I would take the Practical Nursing program.”
Rogene added, “if you’re doing it alone, it would have been too hard. When you have someone who believes in you, and your family is behind you, you will be motivated to do the best you can.”
He continued, “You need passion, understanding and love to do this. You need to care about people. If you just have the nursing skills, something is missing. You need to listen to the patients. That will make it easier for you to apply your skills. Some people are happy just because you’re there.”
“You want to make it for a reason,” Rogene said. “You can make a difference in people’s lives. I am proud to have been a student at Blue Hills. I want others to have the best of it, too.”
The Postsecondary Programs Division Practical Nursing Program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School is offered to post-secondary adults on a full-time basis for 40 weeks from September to June, Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Clinical hours may vary to accommodate clinical agency availability. The Practical Nursing Program offers a rigorous educational experience of theory and clinical practice which prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing) through the State Board of Registration in Nursing. The dedicated faculty provides an exceptional learning environment and the support services to ensure that students succeed.
Photo of Lauren Burke by Judy Bass
By Judy Bass
Looking back, Lauren Burke says that the caring, compassionate nurses who tended to her father in hospice were her prime motivation for wanting to be a healthcare professional herself.
Burke, 27, of Braintree, recalls that they “loved what they did, and were genuinely good people.” Sometimes they would phone Burke’s family to see how they were getting along. One even attended her dad’s funeral. “They were awesome,” she declared emphatically.
Burke, a 2004 alumna of Braintree High School, is about to graduate from the Practical Nursing program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton. This intensive, 10-month class is offered to post-secondary adults on a full-time basis for 40 weeks from September to June, Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Nursing was clearly not always Burke’s career goal. She graduated from UMass-Boston with a psychology degree intending to go into counseling. Burke worked at a preschool in Braintree for a while, but felt she wanted more stability in her career. Then she spoke to someone who had attended the Blue Hills nursing program.
“I just went for it and got in,” Burke said. “I was really excited.”
She chose Blue Hills because it was a full-time program that featured clinical experience, “which was what I really wanted out of it.”
The biggest obstacle Burke faced, she said, was coming in with no background in medicine or nursing at all. She had never taken vital signs or worked with patients. Nevertheless, that was a challenge Burke surmounted with diligent study and industrious hard work, aided by Blue Hills’ teachers and her own classmates.
“The teachers teach what you need to know and should know,” Burke explained. “They are so nice. They all try to help you. They’re great nurses. They’re all so knowledgeable. My classmates help each other and do study groups. Everyone is positive and supportive.”
Another aspect of the program Burke liked was the fact that students are expected to know how to apply their knowledge and skills in practical, real-world situations. “It’s not just reading a book,” she said, “it’s knowing what to do with the information.”
To anyone thinking of applying to the program, Burke says, “It’s OK to be nervous. You have to be willing to work and study hard, but it’s very rewarding, so I would do it.”
For more information about the Postgraduate LPN Program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, visit www.bluehills.org and look under the Practical Nursing tab on the home page.