Great Bay Community College
Associate of Science in Nursing, 2006
Suzanne Utoh never planned on a career in healthcare, but she knew she wanted a career that was rewarding.
“In high school, I focused on music, reading and writing. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but English was my favorite. So, I always thought I would do something with that.”
She joined the U.S. Air Force and went to Concordia College in Minnesota, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English. Then, after spending 12 years in the Air Force, Suzanne began searching for what to do next.
“I spent a few years doing photography before taking a position as an administrator at York Hospital in Maine.”
While working in healthcare as an administrator, Suzanne often observed the nurses around her, fascinated by their work and skillsets. She wanted to do something different than hospital administration and wondered if a career in nursing might be something that she’d enjoy and find rewarding. So, she took the leap of faith and enrolled at Great Bay Community College (GBCC).
“I started researching nursing programs that were focused on hands-on learning and came across Great Bay Community College. The college was nearby and seemed to offer everything I was looking for.”
While Suzanne waited to get into the nursing program, she took microbiology and other corequisite classes to get her feet wet.
“I wanted to get into nursing, and GBCC gave me the foundation to do so. The school helped put me on the right path and kept me on track so that I could finish the program.”
One way in which GBCC helped students like Suzanne stay on track was through its proactive and dedicated faculty.
“Faculty like Dulcinea Kaufman, who was my psychology professor at the time, worked very hard to make sure I had everything I needed while in school, including working diligently to ensure I was able to complete my clinical hours without any gaps in my program.”
In 2006, Suzanne graduated with an Associate of Science in Nursing. She spent two years working at York Hospital as a medical-surgical nurse next to some of those colleagues she had observed years earlier.
“Working as a medical-surgical nurse gave me a number of skills that I was able to carry into my first specialty job in an outpatient infusion clinic at the VA Hospital in Manchester.”
Suzanne transferred to the primary care clinic at the VA outpatient center in Portsmouth, where she spent two years in oncology and nine years in primary care. In October 2017, she transferred to another primary clinic, Texas City Outpatient Clinic, in Houston, TX.
“I am so glad I chose to make the switch to nursing. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience and I truly feel like I am making a meaningful difference in the lives of the patients that I care for.”
A career that first began in the Air Force and transitioned into nursing and teaching basic life support (BLS), Suzanne calls the moment she passed the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Ambulatory Care Certification in 2018 the true “high point” of her career.
“I found great satisfaction in a second career as an RN, and GBCC helped put me on a path to a career that I feel very blessed to have.”
Photo: Suzanne Utoh pictured second to left with family at her daughter’s graduation from Albany Medical College in upstate New York.