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Degree or certificate program at CLC: A.A.S, nursing, class of 2010; B.S.N., nursing, University of Illinois-Chicago, 2015.

Hometown: New Orleans; raised in Port Arthur, Tex.

Occupation: Emergency Room registered nurse

Hobbies: Reading, walking her dog and volunteering at community events such as marathons.

Jennifer Behl

I have changed careers, from working in the insurance industry to becoming an ER nurse. The College of Lake County offered a very convenient way for me, a working adult, to make the change. A few years ago, while living in Texas, I earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science, then moved to the Chicago area and worked at an insurance agency. CLC’s night classes, and the location of the Grayslake campus—minutes from my day job—allowed me to work during the day and take classes at night.

The quality of instructors at CLC is very high. Anatomy and physiology is a foundational course in the nursing program, and my professor, Bob Remedi, explained the material clearly in a way that made sense. He’s very interactive and hands-on. I also liked CLC’s smaller class sizes, and the competitively priced tuition makes it a more cost-effective education than other schools.

The nursing skills lab at the Grayslake Campus is great because the equipment is similar to what nurses use on the job. We learned to use everything from catheters and nasogastric tubes to IV tubes and IV pumps. The nursing professors are good at not only explaining concepts but also showing you how to perform skills on patients, whether inserting tubes, catheters or giving needle injections. The clinicals were also great hands-on learning experiences that reinforced class material. The CLC instructors have a great relationship with area hospitals and clinics.

I joined study groups, and they were an excellent way to make friends with other students and learn the material, especially as we studied for the National Council Licensure Examination. When I saw other career changers and working adults over 30 in the nursing classes and other classes at CLC, it made me more motivated to continue.

Outside of class, I enjoyed exercising in the Fitness Center in the Physical Education Center. It’s a great resource that’s free when you show your student I.D. card. I also used CLC’s library a lot during my years at CLC and while studying for my bachelor’s degree. It allowed me to get out of the house and focus on my studies in a quiet environment.

Completing an associate degree in nursing degree was a great preparation for earning a bachelor of science in nursing. I graduated in 2015 from the University of Illinois-Chicago  after completing online courses as well as classroom-based courses at the University Center of Lake County. The location is extremely convenient, located right on CLC’s Grayslake Campus. Eventually, I would like to be a family nurse practitioner and earn a master’s degree in nursing.

Concentrate on finishing your prerequisite classes first and learn how to prioritize your time. If you study and do well in your courses starting at the beginning of the semester, then at the end of the semester, when you have multiple finals, you’ll feel less pressure because you’ve done well all semester.