Nursing Alumni Spotlights: Jason Mireri and Venah Onsase

Husband and wife from Kenya serving as nurses during COVID-19 pandemic

Venah Onsase, 30, and Jason Mireri, 35, are graduates of the Practical Nursing program at Dakota County Technical College. Venah earned her Practical Nursing diploma in May 2015; Jason earned his diploma two years later in 2017. Originally from Kisii, a major urban center (1.3 million residents) in southwestern Kenya, Jason and Venah are raising three sons while serving as nurses during the nation’s longest, largest surge of the COVID-19 pandemic

Jason is a 2004 graduate of St. Peter’s Suneka High School Suneka Town, Kisii County, Kenya; Venah is a 2008 graduate Kereri Girls High School, Kisii Kenya. They moved to the United States in 2010.

“Life was not easy,” Jason said, recalling growing up in Kenya. “After I finished high school, I worked with a construction company. After about a year, I managed to join the Kenya Police, where I worked as a drill instructor after graduating from basic training because I was the best recruit in the course.”

Jason added that his favorite places in Kenya are Nairobi, the country’s capital and largest city, Mombasa for vacations and Maasai Mara National Reserve, which harbors lions, leopards, cheetahs, bush elephants, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles and many more iconic animals.

Jason and Venah learned about Dakota County Technical College from a friend and DCTC alumnus. “After enrolling in the Practical Nursing program, I was able to see for myself and experience the wonderful staff, instructors and resources at the college,” Jason related.

Both Venah and Jason enjoyed volunteering at their local church while attending DCTC. They have been married 10 years. They have three boys, Henry, 8, Hesbon, 6, and Hayden, 1 month old. In her free time, Venah likes to read. Two of her favorite books are The Girl They Left Behind: A Novel by Roxanne Veletzos and Think Big, Act Small by Jason Jennings. Venah also enjoys cooking and watching her favorite shows on TV.

Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons along with playing soccer and riding his bike during the summer months. The family resides in Otsego, a town of 13,500 residents located on the confluence of the Crow and Mississippi rivers in Wright County, Minnesota.

More about Jason…

Jason Mireri

After graduating from DCTC, Jason went on to earn his A.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse) from Minnesota West Community & Technical College. His academic goals include completing the B.S.N. program at South Minnesota State University before enrolling in an M.S. in Nursing program. His plan is to one day become a nurse practitioner.

Jason works as a PM (nighttime) supervisor at Saint Therese at Oxbow Lake, an assisted-living community in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. His duties and responsibilities include overseeing staff as well as troubleshooting issues whenever needed with a focus on helping his staff accomplish their jobs. He is in charge of the building during the evening shift. Jason also covers admissions to the Transitional Care Unit (TCU).

“I make sure new patients have what they need to make them comfortable in their new environment,” he said. “One of my duties is ordering their medication from the pharmacy. What I like best about my job is making a difference in the lives of my patients, putting smiles on their faces and giving them hope for tomorrow.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased difficulty and stress levels on the job. “In general, life has changed one hundred percent,” Jason said, noting the ever-present possibility of contact with asymptomatic people. “We wear masks all the time. Hopefully, a cure will be found soon, especially now that we’re entering the next wave of the pandemic. We have lost a lot of people around the world. I can’t imagine losing more.”

Jason Mireri Q & A

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?

By diagnosing and treating different conditions related to sickness and old, I can help make a difference in the lives of my patients who can’t help themselves.

How did the Practical Nursing program prepare you for your career?

The Practical Nursing (PN) program was the foundation of my nursing career; the coursework opened my eyes on the importance of helping others, especially the sick when they need help the most.

What is your strongest attribute as a nurse?

Putting smiles on the faces of my patients even though they’re sick.

Words that describe you as a nurse:
ACTION-ORIENTED. GOAL-ORIENTED. PASSIONATE. GOOD LISTENER. EMPATHETIC.

What advice would you give students thinking about nursing as their career choice?

Focus on helping your patients and making a positive impact on their lives despite the fact they are sick.

What person has influenced you the most in life?

None other than my LPN instructor, Renee LeMieux. She is a wonderful person with a big heart for helping people realize their potential regardless of where they come from.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Working in a managerial position in a nursing facility as a director of nursing (DON) or nurse practitioner (NP).

Jason and Venah family gallery


Jason Mireri 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Soccer/jogging
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Jamaica, Italy or Australia
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Putting a smile on my patient’s face and encouraging others to go to school be nurses and help us making a positive difference in our patients’ lives
  4. First thing you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: Help or start a charity organization
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Jeopardy! I’m sad the host passed on due to cancer.
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Black Panther
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Be a successful nurse and help others be difference makers in the lives of their patients
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Lilac-breasted roller
  9. Dream occupation: Nurse practitioner (NP) or director of nursing (DON)
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Pope Francis
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Learn more on how to make a positive difference in the lives of the needy
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: COVID-19—hoping for a cure sooner than later

Renee LeMieux, MSN, RN, PHN: Faculty perspective

Renee LeMieux

Renee LeMieux


“Venah and Jason were both very hardworking students who never made excuses or settled for less than the best they had to give. They are both excellent examples of how transformational a technical college education can be, both for their family, and more importantly for the clients they will serve throughout their careers in nursing.”

Renee LeMieux MSN, RN, PHN
Director of Nursing
Dakota County Technical College

More about the Practical Nursing program…

As a graduate of the Practical Nursing program at DCTC, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skill set to administer safe, ethical, patient-centered nursing care in traditional and alternative health care settings. The Practical Nurse (PN) role within the nursing process is taught through classroom learning, simulated client care, and instructor-supervised clinical experiences in health care settings.

Employment in this field typically requires successful completion of the NCLEX-PN licensing exam.

Mission

The mission of the Dakota County Technical College Practical Nursing program is to provide a program of theory and practice in a supportive environment in which students will develop knowledge, skills and behavior essential for success as a licensed practical nurse.

Philosophy

The Dakota County Technical College Practical Nursing program believes that Practical Nursing is grounded in the biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual sciences practiced under the supervision of a registered nurse or other qualified health care professional. Nursing is devoted to promoting, maintaining, and restoring the health of individuals as well as promoting a peaceful, dignified death.

LEARN MORE…

More about Venah…

Venah Onsase

After graduating from the Practical Nursing program at DCTC, Venah attended Minnesota West Community & Technical College, where she also earned her A.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse). She is looking forward to enrolling in a B.S.N. program as soon as she takes her Minnesota Board of Nursing licensure exam. Venah’s long-range career plans are centered on working in a hospital setting as a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree.

Venah serves as an LPN floor nurse at St. Therese. She’s currently on my maternity leave, but she’ll be returning to work toward the end of January 2021. Her duties include passing medication, doing assessments, admitting new patients and helping her resident patients with their activities of daily living, or ADLs.

“Making a difference in the lives of my residents is the best part of my job as a floor nurse,” Venah said, adding that her life has completely changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I was two-months pregnant when the novel coronavirus arrived. I had to leave work until around August when cases diminished. I then went back to work  every other weekend.”

Venah Onsase Q & A

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?

I was motivated by my coworkers from a skilled facility where I used to work as a nursing assistant-registered (NAR).

How did the Practical Nursing program prepare you for your career?

The program was an eye-opener that helped me realize I have the potential to make a difference in my patient’s life.

What is your strongest attribute as a nurse?

Being passionate with my job and making sure my patients get the best care

Three words that describe you as a nurse:
PATIENT. GOAL-ORIENTED. PASSIONATE.

What advice would you give students thinking about nursing as their career choice?

Despite getting a good pay as a nurse, I see nursing as an opportunity to help others who need our help. I would tell students that nursing is a source of blessings because you are helping the sick.

What person has influenced you the most in life?

Renee LeMieux has influenced my life in nursing from the time I started my Practical Nursing program in DCTC.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I’m planning on enrolling in a B.S.N. program as soon as I get my RN license. I guess working as a registered nurse will be the climax of nursing career.

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:

EXTRAORDINARY

“My experience at DCTC was extraordinary because that’s where I realized nursing is a gift to make a difference in the lives of people who need help, especially the sick.”
— Venah Onsase, 2015 DCTC Nursing Alumna

Venah and Jason family gallery


Venah Onsase 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Playing volleyball
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Australia
  3.  The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Giving birth to my babies
  4. First thing you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: I would open savings accounts for my kids.
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Family Feud with Steve Harvey
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Home Alone
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Being a good mother to my kids
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Lilac-breasted roller
  9. Dream occupation: Nurse midwife
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Michelle Obama
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Being able to meet the needs of my patients
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than a 1.56 million lives worldwide [IHN: As of December 9, 2020 • Source: John Hopkins]
Learn more about the Practical Nursing program at DCTC by contacting:

Renee LeMieux, MSN, RN, PHN
Director of Nursing/Faculty
651-423-8374

Jonathan O’Hara
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor
651-423-8638

¹ SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal

Licensed Practical Nurses

Provide basic nursing care under the direction of doctors and registered nurses.
WAGE

This career pays above the statewide median wage of $21.49/hour

Minnesota

Median: $23.40/hour
High: $26.60/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $24.78/hour
High: $28.22/hour

OUTLOOK

In Minnesota, there are 15,210 workers employed in this large career. This career is currently in very high demand and seeing very high growth compared to other careers.

There will be a need for about 15,821 new Licensed Practical Nurses to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

1 Comment

  • Isaiah Mageto RN, BSN, PHN says:

    Job well done. Thanks brother for your inspiration. We are in the same bus. Let’s continue helping those who are in need even when situations dont allow especially time like this

Comments are closed.