ThunderRidge Grad Begins New Career in Nursing

ThunderRidge Grad Begins New Career in Nursing
Posted on 03/17/2022

ThunderRidge Grad Begins New Career in Nursing

Brooke Jelniker juggled basketball and school while earning a bachelor’s degree, pursuing a career in sales after college, and ultimately found her calling as a nurse.

What is your name, which school did you attend, and what year did you graduate?
My name is Brooke Jelniker, and I graduated from ThunderRidge High School in 2010.

What have you been doing since graduation?
After graduating from ThunderRidge, I played NCAA Division 1 basketball at the University of Kansas and the University of San Diego. After graduation, I worked for Gallo Wine, selling wine along the coast of Orange County, CA. In 2016, I decided to move home and get my personal trainer certification to get back into the fitness world; however, I still felt like something was missing in my career. I decided to take a leap of faith and apply to nursing school. I began nursing school in January 2019 and worked in the ICU during school as a nurse assistant. I worked in the ICU throughout the height of COVID and even provided care for friends and those I knew from ThunderRidge. I recently graduated from nursing school and landed my first job working as a new graduate nurse in a hospital emergency department. I’m currently in my first few weeks of training and am so excited to learn and grow as a nurse!

What is your proudest achievement since graduating?
Without a doubt, my proudest achievement is graduating from nursing school. Although earning my first bachelor’s degree while playing basketball full time was tough, nothing compares to nursing school. I remember after my first day of nursing school I called my mom crying, telling her that I didn't think I could do it. I have learned so much about myself since then: choosing to put myself in challenging situations, holding patients' hands as they take their last breath and working four jobs to pay for school. Making it through the last three years of school and graduating Cum Laude is my proudest moment.

Share a positive memory from high school that sticks out to you.
The biggest thing that sticks with me about attending ThunderRidge High School is the school spirit. The fans who came out to support girls' basketball games were unreal. At ThunderRidge, when the national anthem is playing, everyone stands in silence and faces the flag. But at the end of the last phrase of the anthem, I can still hear the fans yell, "Grizzlies!” It used to give me chills and sums up the kind of school spirit we had.

What was one unique thing you learned about yourself during high school? How did your teachers and school support you?
In high school, I had the most amazing support system. My parents, coaches, teammates, friends, and teachers all helped me realize what I was capable of. High school can be a weird time for many teenagers as they try to figure out who they are and what they are meant to do in life. Having such a solid support system in every aspect of life gave me the confidence and work ethic to be where I am today.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I would tell myself to slow down and live life in the present. I had a lot going on in high school through basketball or in the classroom, and I didn't always enjoy the moment. I was so worried about getting a college basketball scholarship. I wish I would have slowed down and been more appreciative of everything I was able to experience.

What skill (professional or personal) are you trying to master?
Becoming the best emergency nurse that I can be! There is so much to learn, but I can't wait to get to the point where I feel truly confident in my knowledge and abilities as a nurse.

What are your future plans?

I’m very excited about getting married to my fiance in July! Planning a wedding while graduating from school and starting a new job keeps me busy. Thank goodness my mom is helping me plan!


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