Sirisopa 'Tai' Chantongkaew, RN

Student, RN to BS Online Program
Med-Surg Flex Team, Strong Memorial Hospital

sirisopaSirisopa Chantongkaew, RN, relocated from Thailand 13 years ago, and became a certified nursing assistant, a licensed practical nurse, and then a registered nurse. She applied to Strong Memorial Hospital after she heard of the educational benefits offered at the University of Rochester School of Nursing from a former supervisor. Sirisopa is a member of the Medical Surgical Flex team and is a current student in the University of Rochester School of Nursing’s RN to BS program.

Why did you decide to pursue the RN to BS Online program?

I applied here at Strong because that’s what I heard — there’s free education. And the free education attracted me. And overall, I like to study. It’s always good for my passion. 

How did the SON Tuition Grant impact your decision?

If I can make it, anybody can do it! 

 Absolutely phenomenal. That’s the reason, that when I heard about it, I grabbed that opportunity and jump into it. Because that’s huge, yes. It’s a big difference.

What’s your experience like in the RN to BS Online program?

I know there’s very good support from the faculty. I struggle with writing and we have writing resources. I have a good relationship with the instructor. She’s dedicated and always cheerful when we’re under stress and everything.

How has the Tuition Grant supported your goals as a nurse?

Yes, absolutely, the SON Tuition Grant makes a totally free education possible for me. That helps me to worry less. As a nurse, that’s one less thing to worry about because some nurses may have to work a lot more hours to pay back any loans. So helpful.

How have you been able to balance work and this program?

We have crazy hours. Sometimes we work at night, sometimes you work during the day and we also have a submission day for the program. The faculty always sends us an email before to text them, email them, and they’re flexible with those deadlines. I always email “I’m working from these days, 12 hours so may I extend my submission on this day?” And it's always possible. Always.

Any advice for other nurses considering going back to school at the School of Nursing?

It’s scary to start, but once you start, it’s at the end of the tunnel is always the light and the sky is the limit. If I can make it, anybody can do it! When the opportunity is there. Why not? Just do it whenever you think is good for you.