New Nurse Ms. Utke Helps Our Future Health Sciences Nurses
by Levaunna Gray, Junior Writer
Ms. Ann Utke is one of the newest additions to Hillcrest’s diverse teacher community.
She is a Registered Nurse who began teaching the RN program in Health Sciences at the start of this new school year.
Although new to Hillcrest, Utke is no stranger to teaching. She worked at the Jane Addams High School in South Bronx for over 16 years. She found teaching in South Bronx enjoyable, as she found that there was a need for Nursing Assistant teachers. “Most of the students that I encountered at Jane Addams were from difficult situations, and thus it brought me joy to see students reach their dreams of becoming Nursing Assistants.”
One of the stand-out moments in her career was when she saw one of her students graduate who lived in a homeless shelter. Ms. Utke worked closely with the student. “I felt the utmost pride when that student walked across the stage and got a certificate [from the Nursing Assistant program],” reminisced Ms. Utke.
Despite coming from a smaller school in Jane Addams which only had 900-100 students, Ms. Utke intends to help students achieve their goals in the Nursing profession at Hillcrest as well, as she wants to aid students on the path to becoming Nursing Assistants. Once the students have completed the Nursing Assistant program, they take an examination. If successful, they are awarded a certificate. Ms. Utke wishes for her students to move forward to college and advance their Nursing careers.
Ms. Utke’s life philosophy is “You will not get far without an education.” When she was growing up, the importance of education was always stressed by her parents as education was attached to a high value. This was attributed to the fact that her parents were uneducated, but they instilled the belief that she would get a proper education. This was a factor that encouraged her to get a Baccalaureate Degree in nursing from Lehman College, as well a Master’s Degree in Health Education from Hofstra University.
Ms. Utke describes nursing as “a noble profession”. For one to become a nurse, she says that that individual needs to be “dedicated and compassionate towards caring for the sick and injured.” This attitude towards students has not been lost, as from observation, she cares a great deal about her students. In fact, her students even spend their lunch hour with her, and help her to do tasks.
One would wonder which profession she prefers, but she stated that she enjoys being a nurse and teacher equally, as she gets to help and assist those who are in need of it.
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