School of health sciences prepares graduate for future role in nursing

January 15, 2020

Kendall Cote sits in doctor office

Kendall Cote '17 currently works as an ophthalmic technician and planned on applying to optometry school after she graduated with her BS in Health Science Studies. Her plans changed.

She took a year off after she graduated and is now applying to nursing school. Without the health science program, Cote says that she would not have had the flexibility, support and direction she needed to make such big life decisions.

During the two years she spent at Quinnipiac, Cote became close with her advisor and mentor, Dr. Fitzgerald. She has been a constant support throughout Cote's Health Sciences program.

When Cote gave birth to her son during the fall semester, Dr. Fitzgerald and other faculty supported Cote during this time.

The online format allowed Cote the flexibility to study during the chunks of time that worked with her schedule. She worked during breaks throughout the day, studied on the weekends and at night after her son was asleep.

Cote had direction and purpose throughout the program which intensified after the birth of her son. Her priorities changed, but her focus did not. Cote admits that it can get tough to manage it all, but her main motivation, her son, kept her going even when she wanted to quit.

She needed to set an example for him. Cote’s perseverance has been a driving force setting her up for a successful future.

With a support team behind her, Cote is following her passion. She is excited about the different opportunities that are before her. Eventually, Cote may want to go into policy making in healthcare.

For now, she will concentrate on her nursing courses and use the same determination she had while earning her BS in Health Science Studies at Quinnipiac.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to have studied at Quinnipiac and be part of the health sciences program," said Cote.

Q & A

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself so that our readers can get to know you?

I grew up racing cars and did so until college, I love brining my son to the track now and will get him in a car once he is old enough. Crocheting is my favorite de-stressor because I am always “go-go.” It forces me to stop and relax while keeping my hands busy!

How do you apply skills you learned in your current job as an ophthalmic technician?

Prioritizing. The program was so accelerated I needed to learn how to quickly prioritize in order to succeed. This has helped me successfully triage and prioritize patient needs and the urgencies behind them.

Along with maintaining office paperwork, insurance communication and supply ordering or ensure office flow. Clinically, a particular nutritional chemistry class I took has helped me immensely in working with the diabetic population.

Can you share some of the key milestones that got you to where you are today?

One of the key milestones was having my son during the program. I do everything for him. If it weren’t for him, I would have given up a few times throughout the program.

I knew that I needed to set the example of perseverance for him. The most recent milestone is receiving an invitation to interview for Yale School of Nursing’s Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN) program for the Family Nurse Practitioner track.

If it weren’t for my studies and the professors at Quinnipiac, I would never have had the opportunity to even apply to Yale.

What lesson did you learn about yourself throughout the program?

That I am stronger than I thought. I went into the program sure of what I wanted, but my son changed the trajectory. I thought I wanted Optometry school, but there was no way I could relocate anymore.

I felt lost and unsure if I should keep going since I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I’m glad I kept going, because the experience I gained lead me down the path to pursue nursing.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back on the day you started this program?

I would tell myself to carve out more time for fun. The program can get intense and forgetting to have fun can leave you feeling burned out. There is time for friends, family and fun while in this program and to prioritize enough to utilize the fun time.

What type of relationships did you form while you were in the online health science studies program?

I still have a relationship and open communication with my advisor, Dr. Fitzgerald. I have needed her over the years, and every time I reached out, she was there for me. One of my favorite things about going here is Dr Fitzgerald.

I also built friendships with two classmates, Lori and Chentel, and maintain frequent contact.

How was your overall online experience?

Online learning made it convenient because I didn’t have to go to campus. I was in the hospital when I had my son and I was writing a paper!! The teachers were so accommodating and helpful!

They really understood what I was going through and supported me. Also, I was able to finish my degree earlier than planned because of the flexible schedule. If it wasn’t for online, I don’t think I would have finished my degree.

The health sciences studies program offers many different pathways for those who choose the healthcare field. Students who are in the program are lab technicians, x-ray technicians, dental hygienists and other healthcare-related professions like hospital administration.

Others use this degree as a steppingstone to a graduate program, like Cote, and go on to become physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and healthcare administrators.

Learn more about how Quinnipiac's online BS in Health Science Studies can help you reach your goals.

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