Justine Perfecto’s curiosity for the medical field began when she was a child.
“Growing up in a family of pharmacists, doctors and nurses exposed me to the medical field at a young age,” she said. “Throughout my life, I have also helped my mom cope with her lupus, which was diagnosed three years after I was born. As I accompanied my mom to her frequent hospital visits, I noticed that it was the nurses who were constantly at the patients’ bedside. The nurses had such a positive impact on my mom and I wanted to do the same for other patients.”
Perfecto originally started at Benedictine University, pursuing a degree in Biology in hopes of becoming a doctor. Although she changed her mind to major in nursing, she transferred back to Benedictine to continue her nursing education.
“When I found out about the 3+1 Nursing program that COD has with Benedictine, I did not hesitate to apply,” she said. “I thought it was a great way for me to finish where I started with Benedictine for a fraction of the cost. COD’s campus is beautiful and I knew from my first tour of the Health and Sciences Center that I would be given nothing short of a great education.
“The Nursing program at COD is definitely not easy. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, which has helped prepare me to become a great nurse. I am very grateful to have had amazing professors during my time at COD. They demonstrate true dedication and compassion for patients, which I will take with me when I go into the nursing profession on my own.”
In 2016, Perfecto was named one of the College’s Outstanding Graduate finalists. Having finished her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she is working as a nurse at Loyola University Medical Center and continues to improve her clinical skills. She has taken on the roles of a charge nurse and preceptor for new graduates on her unit. She also is fascinated with the technical aspect of nursing and is considering a master’s degree in nursing informatics.
“It seems like the medical field is incorporating technology to provide patient care more and more as time goes on,” she said. “I’ve learned that as a nurse, you never stop learning. Every day brings a new challenge.”
Her advice to College of DuPage students is to explore the campus and its services.
“Set up an appointment with an advisor that specializes in the program you are interested in to find out which classes you need before you apply,” she said. “There are so many great resources on campus that students do not know about until they ask. And do not doubt your ability to succeed. Every step, no matter how big or small, is one step closer to achieving your goals.
“I dedicate my success in the Nursing program to my family. They make me strive to do my best. I would not be where I am today without them cheering me on along the way.”