Grad Story #26



 Grad Story #26



Irin Njuakom
MS, Nursing


Irin, you are originally from Cameroon and now based in the US. What drew you to the Nursing program at UND?

As a nurse I have always been interested in a Master’s degree in Public Health with a nursing specialty and offered online. The University of North Dakota is the only university that offered me this unique opportunity at the time.


What is it about the program that you most enjoy?

It is very organized, well designed and structured. The instructors are readily available and would go an extra mile to assist students. The virtual classroom setting accords me the flexibility to travel, engage in my projects across the globe and study all at the same time. It is a wonderful experience.


Recently you returned to Cameroon as the sponsor of the Sanitation and Hygiene in Njinikom project. Can you describe the project and its impact on people in the town?

It is a two phase project with the overall goal to provide improved access to basic sanitation and hygiene practices in the Njinikom rural community. The first phase of the project is currently in progress with the construction of the first public toilet in the Njinikom area and ongoing education seminars on disease transmission through fecal-oral contact, benefits of adequate sanitation and hygiene, and techniques in hand washing. The second phase of the project involves the construction of residential pit latrines. The eligibility requirement for a residential pit latrine is attendance and participation in education seminars. There is a lot of enthusiasm and hope in the community. During my stay in the community I encountered people daily who would walk up to me and say thank you for saving our community. Others lamented the poor state of sanitation practices and I have been offered pieces of land from neighborhood chiefs to construct public toilets. My hope is that the enthusiasm will translate into actual usage of the public and residential toilets once constructed.


Will you be returning for the project's completion?

Absolutely. This is just the first phase of the project and I hope to be there to cut the ribbon. The goal is to complete the first public toilet by summer. I will need to be there to put in place a managerial team to ensure sustainability of the facility. The biggest challenge in a project such as this is sustainability. I will also need to train janitors prior to opening the facility and also ensure that the plan was closely followed.


How has your experience in the nursing program helped with that project?

It has helped tremendously. I have gained a wealth of knowledge being in the program. This has helped shape my vision and propelled me to make numerous revisions in the project. I initiated the project prior to getting into UND and since being in the program I have become proficient in my leadership, collaborative and communication skills. I have also developed proficiency in program assessment, implementation and evaluation.


While you are studying in the United States, you are also busy traveling for work. Can you talk a little about what you are doing?

I am a travel nurse with the VA travel nurse corps. I am required to do one thirteen week assignment a year and have a maximum of 9 months to be in one location. I am currently in Des Moines, IA where I work with VA (Veteran Affairs) and HUD (Housing and urban development) to provide housing to homeless Veterans.


How do you manage your coursework while you are on the road?

I am a very disciplined and organized person and therefore able to structure my time appropriately around my work and school.


What advice do you have for a student considering the graduate program in Nursing?

It is a very rewarding program. It is well organized and structured. Individuals considering the program have to cultivate a culture of self-discipline to be successful.


What would you like to be doing 5 years from now?

Obtain my Ph.D. degree in international or global health and continue working to promote health and prevent the spread of diseases in impoverished communities in Cameroon, the continent of Africa and beyond.


The Graduate School



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“ Grad Story #26
 ,” Grad Stories, accessed July 21, 2018,