North Dakota Student Nurse of the Year and North Dakota Nurse Educator of the Year honored at event

Photo of Adriana Rasidovic holding a plaque showing her award for ND Student Nurse of the Year

Adriana Rasidovic, student at NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota

Adriana Rasidovic, nursing student in the NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck has been selected as the North Dakota Student Nurse of the Year. Jill Johnson, assistant professor of practice at NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health, was named North Dakota Nurse Educator of the Year. Both received the honors from the Nursing Students’ Association of North Dakota at the group’s Annual Convention held in Bismarck January 22-25.

“My philosophy of nursing is all about caring for others with compassion, respect, and empathy,” said Rasidovic. “Strong nurses are those who can implement the importance of advocating for their patients and believe in the power of therapeutic relationships. My cultural background and personal experience have given me a unique perspective and the ability to connect with others from different walks of life,” she said. “It is very important to be a welcoming, supportive, and open-minded nurse as we care for many individuals from various backgrounds and experiences.”

Born in the U.S., Rasidovic appreciates the sacrifices her family made to give her opportunities. Her parents came to America as refugees from Croatia and Bosnia. She recounts that her family had to rebuild their lives from the ground up in an unfamiliar setting after experiencing war in their region. “This was a rollercoaster of an experience for them, where they would need to learn a whole new language and way of living. Their resilience and determination are what have molded me into the person I am today,” said Rasidovic, who primarily spoke her native language at home.

“It wasn’t until I began school that I started fluently speaking English. By embracing these differences, I have been able to enhance my qualities of adaptability, communication, and connection with others around me,” said Rasidovic. “My family was truly grateful for the welcoming individuals who lent them a hand during and after the war, and these recollections have been what has stuck with them throughout all these years. Because of this, my parents raised me to be open-minded, kind, appreciative, and inviting of others.”

Rasidovic has augmented her nursing studies with work in a hospital oncology unit and as a certified nursing assistant. She also serves as a student nursing ambassador, a director of community outreach for the Nursing Students’ Association, as a Bison Buddy mentoring other students, and as a tutor to help students achieve academic goals.

“She is a model student who has strong academic, clinical, professional, and personal attributes. Hospital staff recognized Adriana as intelligent, kind, compassionate, hardworking, dedicated, professional and caring,” said Susan Hall, assistant professor of practice at NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck. “Adriana stands out in her passion to lead by example.”

Rasidovic may pursue nursing specialties in neonatal intensive care or oncology upon graduation, but in whatever role she begins her future nursing career, Rasidovic plans to implement leadership skills to create an empowering environment for patients and healthcare team members.

Photo of nursing faculty member Jill Johnson holding an award plaque designating her as North Dakota Nurse Educator of the Year

Jill Johnson, assistant professor of practice, NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health

Johnson named Nurse Educator of the Year

Jill Johnson, assistant professor of practice in the NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck, was named North Dakota Nurse Educator of the Year by the North Dakota Nursing Students’ Association during the group’s convention in January.

“I give credit to Professor Johnson for much of my knowledge and confidence that I have today working as a nurse,” said graduate Olivia Dietrich, who now works as an emergency room nurse. “Professor Johnson is without a doubt knowledgeable in her critical care topic and her love for teaching and helping students succeed does not stop at the classroom door.”

Johnson’s career in nursing includes patient care in the emergency department, intensive care, home health, long-term care, and clinical settings. She’s assisted with health clinics for vulnerable populations and volunteers at local food pantries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was compelled to also work as a bedside nurse to help patients and families.

“My philosophy of nursing is centered around holistic support,” said Johnson, who follows principles of high expectations of students, emphasis on critical thinking and a student-centered approach. “My passion for both medicine and education led me to become a nurse educator. I find it fulfilling to engage students simultaneously in the classroom and at the bedside during clinicals.”

Catherine Comis appreciates Johnson’s innovative teaching methods. “She often incorporates real life into lectures by including case studies that often accompany conversations of ‘textbook’ versus ‘real life.’ These conversations help prepare us as new grads for what to actually expect within practice,” said Comis.

The NDSU School of Nursing provides bachelor’s and graduate nursing education at sites in Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota. Programs are available for part- and full-time students, working professionals and those seeking online educational opportunities.  


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