Unhappy with the lack of career advancement opportunities after 10 years of being a teacher, Kristina Swardenski of Glasford decided to “take control” of her future and do something she had always felt compelled to do.
“I had experienced several personal situations with the healthcare profession, including hospice nurses when my parents passed away,” said Swardenski. “The way they helped my family during this time was indescribable, and I wanted to be a part of helping others in such a powerful way.”
Hard Work Pays Off
Two years after entering the nursing program at Spoon River College, Swardenski walked across the stage at the College’s 2013 Commencement – twice. Once to receive her Associate Degree in Nursing, and then again to receive the Career and Technical Student Award that she was honored with based on her academic excellence, demonstration of career readiness skills, and exceptional technical abilities as a nursing student.
Swardenski attributes her success to support she received from her family, including her young children who pitched in on household chores, and to the SRC nursing faculty whose “openness and availability” outside of the classroom went a long way towards “helping all the students master the necessary material and concepts.”
Challenges, Choices, and Rewards
“As a busy mom with two busy children, SRC’s 2-year program was a great choice for me,” Swardenski said. “It was challenging, and I had to put ‘being a mom’ backseat to studying many times, but I knew it wasn’t forever, and I knew there would be a great pay-off in the end.”
“I would like to eventually work in cardiology but am happy to be in any position where caring is the central goal of that department,” said Swardenski, who is currently employed at the Health Ambulatory Surgery Center in Peoria. “My personality is one of helping and caring; this profession comes very naturally to me. Pursuing a new career was both scary and exciting, and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.”