Real Story: Wendy Bollino

Wendy Bollino

CSM Class of 2024, NursingHeadshot of CSM graduate Wendy Bollino. She has glasses and red hair and is smiling at the camera.

Current Job Title: Nursing Resident, CalvertHealth
Accolades, Accomplishments, and Highlights: Spring 2024 Student Commencement Speaker, School of Science and Health; Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society


Did you know that 100% of the (one) nurse practitioners I have spoken with say that their associate degree in nursing was the hardest out of all their educational endeavors? I’d say that most of us would agree with that.

I am a proud, 40-year-old wife, mother, and now, a newly graduated nurse. I started at the College of Southern Maryland way back in 2001.

I was told the college experience is what you make of it. Well, 19-year-old Wendy didn’t make the most of it back then. For some of us, our paths through life are straight lines. Not mine—I zigzagged, and even did some loop-dee-loops before I was able to get to this stage. But perseverance and resilience pay off.

I know some in my cohort have heard my story; I’ve always been open about it. I’d like to share a little bit more about the journey that took me to–and through–the nursing program here at CSM.

I am a Calvert County native. As a kid, driving by the red and whitewater tower at Calvert Memorial meant I was home. I remember for career day in fourth grade, Mrs. Long’s class, I borrowed a stethoscope and listened for heart sounds. By the time I was in middle school, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I graduated from Calvert High School in 2001 and began my prerequisite courses at CSM.

Life wasn’t as stable as it might have been, and I had my daughter in 2004. It turned out that she has been one of the best things to have ever happened to me. Time went on as it does, and I continued to take courses here and there as I was able. I found jobs to stay near healthcare. I worked as a cashier in a pharmacy and then as a receptionist at an X-ray center, and that was where my story really began.

One fateful day in 2010 I was laid off from the x-ray center due to “increased efficiencies of the front desk,” the very same week my husband was promoted. At that time our daughter was in kindergarten and our son was nine months old. We decided that I would stay home with our children. I will forever be grateful for being laid off and my husband’s commitment to our family by taking on all the financial responsibilities by himself.

I still took classes in the evenings and then, in 2015, I applied for and got into the nursing program. However, I had to resign my spot before orientation even took place. It wasn’t the right time for me and my family. So, I continued to take courses at CSM, some for nursing and some to see if my interest was piqued elsewhere.

All of a sudden, my oldest, Gabrielle, was in tenth grade and was trying to decide on her courses for her junior year of high school. The career and technology academy, which is a part of the public school system in Calvert County, offers a program called the academy of health professions. She decided to take part and follow the nursing pathway.

Gabrielle  inspired me to reapply myself to the nursing profession. Seeing her flourish and graduate from high school with her Certified Nursing Assistant and Geriatric Nursing Assistant credentials, I saw all of the possibilities that education in nursing could offer. That was my sign.

Thank you, Gabrielle, for changing my life not just once, but twice! I applied to the nursing program, got accepted, and worked my heart out and I am ready to transition to practice. I have always wanted to work at CalvertHealth. I am so proud to now be a member of their staff. I look forward to giving back to the community I love through my nursing care. I am fulfilled now in a way that I didn’t know I was lacking, and I’ve had an incredibly fulfilling life. Following through with my lifelong dream of becoming a nurse has changed me as a human being. I am better for having gone through this intense, yet rewarding, challenge. I am better for having met and learned alongside all my classmates in the classroom and the clinical settings.

I am honored to be a part of my cohort. My were nothing short of incredible by showing support and concern during each semester. You provided help, encouragement, and even a shoulder to cry on when I needed it.

I want to thank my husband Joe for his unwavering support. I would not be here today without him. He has always said I have more in me than I realized, and he advocated for me to follow my dream of becoming a nurse. I need to thank my children, Gabrielle and Joseph, for their support and unconditional love as well. I could not have done this without them.

I want to thank the professors and the clinical instructors at CSM. With your guidance and encouragement, I know that I am going to make an amazing nurse. And I want to thank CalvertHealth for taking me in and building me up during the externship program and as I stayed on as a during third and fourth semester and now as a new graduate nurse.


As student nurses, we were taught to look for signs and symptoms. We look for signs of infection, such as fever and elevated white blood cell count. Take those skills into your lives and look for the signs when they present themselves. Recognizing and following those signs can help you achieve your dreams. When your sign presents itself, believe it!

Be true to yourself and continue to want to learn like it’s your first day, every day. Be curious, push yourself, and follow your dreams. Each of you is inspiring. You have a story to tell. Do it! Share your stories. You will inspire the next generation of nurses. Be confident in yourselves. Have faith in the foundation you have built here at CSM.

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Last updated: 5/9/24

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