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Alumna Profile: Dolly Leong

Dolly LeongStudying to become a nurse was an arduous process for Dolly Leong. She transferred colleges three times before she earned her associate’s degree. Like many nurses entering the field today, Dolly soon found that a bachelor’s degree would greatly expand her job option. Searching for the right school to complete her degree, Dolly kept encountering RN-to-BSN programs that were entirely online. “I wanted something that had a classroom component,” she said. “I like to interact with people.”

It wasn’t until she found North Park’s program, which was in-person other than a few hybrid courses, that she felt quite at home. She credits a lot of this to her advisor and favorite professor, Dr. Wanda Burns. “The first day I met her, I had a feeling that the school would be a good fit for me. She was sympathetic to my night shift work, and she explained abstract concepts in simple terms. She even made me feel comfortable enough to tell jokes during oral presentations.”

Dolly was surprised by how practical aspects of the program was. Professors like Dr. Dimitra Loukissa lead interactive classes, inviting students to share their nursing stories, rather than simply lecturing. “I retained material better and learned it for my own good, rather than feeling pressure to pass a test,” Dolly said. Her leadership and management class required her to collaborate with a hospital unit’s staff, implementing small-scale improvements. “I loved the independent field work,” Dolly said. “Having to create my own projects, rather than being told exactly how to do the work, made the projects more meaningful.”

Though her educational process was challenging, it paid off. Before graduating from North Park in 2015, Dolly was offered a full-time position on the acute rehab unit at Swedish Covenant Hospital. “I want to inspire other students to work hard, stay focused, and have fun while pursing their academic goals,” said Dolly, who dreams about becoming a nursing instructor or a research nurse someday. “In my studies, I underwent massive growth, spiritually and intellectually, while building confidence in myself as a nurse during the process,” Dolly says. “The most important thing I learned from the journey was to never give up.”