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Academic standout chooses RCC nursing program

When he graduated from King George High School in 2011 with an Advanced Studies Diploma, Michael Jagielski had already earned an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree and a certificate in General Education from Rappahannock Community College, as well as graduating from the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School. He then enrolled at the University of Mary Washington, where he studied music and biology; but after a short time, he says, “I decided my passion lay within the medical field.”

Jagielski-Mike2Jagielski found a path toward realizing his dream no farther from home than RCC’s associate-degree nursing program, which he expects to complete in Spring 2014. His next step will take him to a four-year university, perhaps George Mason or Old Dominion, to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. At that point he hopes to join the United States Navy, “in order to fulfill my dream of reaching out to the people of the world and making the world a healthier and better place to live in,” he says. His ambition, when he becomes a qualified nurse, is to specialize in caring for traumatic and surgical wounds. He also thinks of going into nursing informatics—a specialty that integrates nursing with management of information and communication technologies to promote community health worldwide. But his ultimate goal is to earn a master’s degree and perhaps a doctorate in nursing, after which he will return to the community college system as a nursing instructor.

“RCC was a place I knew I was able to succeed, and to start the rest of my life,” says Jagielski. When he first began studying there, “I wasn’t sure what my college experience would be like. I was a young high school student, and I felt like I would not fit in with the older college students. But when I walked into my first class, I was welcomed with open arms. The students were willing to include me in their groups, and treated me as an equal. The instructors always have a smile on their faces, and are willing to help you whenever you need it. It is difficult to put into words how much RCC has aided me in making me a better student and a better person.”

Jagielski describes RCC’s faculty as “insightful, passionate about their subject material, and always willing to work with their students.” In particular, the nursing faculty, headed by health programs dean Charles Smith, impressed him as “informed and caring instructors . . . the best group of faculty I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They have inspired me and supported me at every turn.” RCC’s staff, too, was “always helpful and encouraging to me. Whenever I had a question, they promptly answered it. Whenever I had a request, they found ways to fulfill it.” In summing up his experience, he cites “friendly instructors and staff, interesting classes, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

In addition to serving as president of RCC’s current group of nursing students on the Warsaw Campus, Jagielski has participated in many on- and off-campus events that give these students an opportunity to interact with the public . . . their future patients. These have included health fairs, National Drug Take Back Day events, and several projects (counting toward course grades) that educated the community on such health-related subjects as heart disease, tobacco risk factors, diabetes, hypertension, the importance of hand-washing, and maintaining a healthy diet.

Jagielski credits much of his personal and academic development to the “guiding, teaching, loving, and caring” of his father (an adjunct instructor at RCC’s off-campus site in King George) and his stepmother (Caroline Mack, formerly coordinator of the King George site). Without their help, he says, “I don’t think I would be where I am today.” In his spare time, Jagielski works as a volunteer at Guadalupe Free Clinic in Colonial Beach, which provides medical care for low-income families. He also enjoys playing the trumpet and writing—“I hope to publish a book someday”—and is enthusiastic about the medieval period of history.

“I will become a qualified and competent nurse,” Jagielski states. “I know the road will be long and difficult, but I will succeed! RCC has given me the confidence to move on to the next step.”

One Response to “Academic standout chooses RCC nursing program”

  1. Anna Fulmer says:

    Yay Michael!! ((:

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