Major: Nursing

The field of public service is not an easy one; it requires immeasurable patience, cCCM Alumna Marlina Mendozaommunication and interpersonal skills, a penchant for helping others, compassion and a strong will to navigate each and every unique situation that comes across one’s path in a way that leaves all parties satisfied. Nursing is chief among those fields that require such skills.

When County College of Morris (CCM) alumna Marlina Mendoza was faced with a patient’s situation that demanded exactly those qualities of her, she went beyond expectations so much so that she was nominated for, and received, a DAISY award from The DAISY Foundation, which recognizes nurses for their important role in a patient’s experience.

During a change of shift at night, Mendoza took over the care of a patient who was critically ill and had been in discussion with his family over his desire to pass away in peace to reunite with his wife in heaven. His family was opposed to the idea and pleaded with him to continue his fight. Mendoza spoke with the patient to better understand his wishes and upon having them clarified, she arranged a meeting with the patient’s family and her colleagues to communicate his desires. After his family accepted his wishes, the patient transitioned to comfort care and passed away peacefully with his family present. Mendoza’s utmost care and sensitive handling of this situation led the family to nominate her for the DAISY Award.

To become a nurse was not always in Mendoza’s plans. Having graduated from Dover High School in 2006, she attended Seton Hall University as an accounting major. With the rising cost of tuition, she decided to attend CCM after talking with multiple relatives who are nurses and inspired her to look into it as a career. She began taking the pre-requisites to the Nursing Program at CCM. After her first semester in the program, she secured a position as a nursing assistant at Morristown Medical Center (MMC), where she still works today. “CCM’s Nursing program gave me the confidence as a newly graduated nurse with necessary hands-on experience under my belt,” says Mendoza. “I always recommend the program.”

As a nursing assistant, Mendoza has worked in a variety of positions, including on the Respiratory/Medical-Surgical Floor, which provided her with a wide range of experience, and the Telemetry Floor, which monitors heart patients. By chance, she heard that the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) needed a nursing assistant for a few shifts and went after the opportunity. Soon thereafter, Mendoza shared with her unit coordinator that she was graduating soon and leaving her options open for employment.

Before she even finished the program at CCM, Mendoza applied for and interviewed with the CCU and was offered a position as a Registered Nurse (RN). She has been at MMC for five years so far, and three of those have been as a nurse. “CCM gave me the foundation I needed to become a successful nurse at Morristown Medical Center,” she shares. “I’m appreciative towards the staff in the Nursing Program for providing me with the skills I needed to become successful.” CCM’s credit and degree transferability also means a lot to Mendoza; a majority of her credits transferred to Montclair State University, where she will continue her nursing education to further improve the public’s experience with health care.