RN Earned Nursing Degree with Catholic Eldercare Scholarships
A diversity visa lottery program brought Adekola (Kola) Adetola to the United States from Nigeria 21 years ago. And a certified nursing assistant training class at Hennepin Technical College brought him to Catholic Eldercare (CEC), a place he now calls, “home.” Kola says he chose Minnesota because he has family here, and then Catholic Eldercare chose him.
Through college tuition reimbursement and scholarships provided by CEC, Kola has climbed the ladder from certified nursing assistant (CNA) to trained medication aid (TMA) to licensed practical nurse (LPN) to an associate of science in nursing degree (ASN), a nurse manager position, and a 4-year bachelor’s degree, becoming a registered nurse (RN). He now tells others working towards their degree, “Believe that anything is possible, if you’re willing to put in the work.”
Kola began caring for elderly people at a young age when his grandmother moved in with his family. “This is what we do in Nigeria,” he says. “We don’t have nursing homes there.” As a young man, compassion seemed innate to Kola, as he learned the importance of care with dignity and respect. “At the time, I wanted to be a doctor, so I started college in Nigeria to work towards the degree. That changed when I had the opportunity to immigrate to the U.S. and learned about nursing,” he explains.
With deep respect for the nursing profession, Kola admits that he didn’t always realize how hard nurses’ work. “When I was a CNA, I didn’t think it looked that hard, but as I advanced through more levels of training, it became clear to me that it was. It also made me more understanding of all the positions I held, and work done within them.”
Now, in his 20th year at CEC, Kola says it’s a great place to work. “I was fortunate to come back after my nursing assistant training. Our relationship is strong, and it’s mutually beneficial. I love what I do, and I want to keep doing it.”
What’s next for this dedicated nurse who has earned multiple degrees, has overcome language barriers, and worked two jobs to earn money to support himself along the way? “I think I will get a master’s degree in nursing,” he says. “And then, I’ll stop.” Carla Franz Director of Nursing is proud to work in a place that made it possible for Kola to further his education, while sharing his talents on the job. “We are so blessed to have Kola on staff at CEC,” she says. “Patients light up when he walks in the room.” Kola feels the pleasure is his, “I love caring for elderly people. Bringing joy to patients gives me joy.”
“Taking care of elders is what I want to do,” Kola says. “We’re all going to get older and need care. I don’t know who will take care of me when my time comes, but I love spending time with my patients.” Kola, we’re quite certain that when your time comes, Catholic Eldercare will find a place for you.