Nurse of the Year

Alumna, reflects on nursing journey after receiving prestigious award


Schoolcraft Alumna Nikki Borgert (left) pictured with colleagues received St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Nurse of the Year thanks to her dedication and service to the patients she faithfully aids every day. (photo courtesy of Nikki Bogart)

Madison Ling, Managing Editor

Imagine just 10 years ago, being a wide-eyed nursing student sitting inside a lecture hall, only able to fantasize about that dream job. Picture the appearance and feeling of those iconic scrubs, the quiet chatter of families visiting their loved ones and delivering the relieving or devastating results that could determine a patient’s fate. Then one day, the world implodes, that healing environment becomes a warzone and all because of one textbook term that’s plagued the news for the past six months: Pandemic.
“I never thought this would be a reality. I talked about pandemics in my theory of science classes and played the board game “Pandemic” with medical friends, but here we are living it,” states 36-year-old alumna and Trauma Surgery Nurse, Nikki Borgert. “It’s honestly unreal some days. I started floating to the COVID positive units to help when it first started. I picked up any shift I could. We suit up in our hospital issued PPE and just pray we don’t catch it or pass it to anyone.”
Borgert isn’t only a brave soul putting her life on the line during these unprecedented times. She’s also St. Joe’s Ann Arbor Nurse of the Year thanks to her dedication and service to the patients she faithfully aids every day.
The world simply turned upside down for this alumnus when COVID-19 took over the world, but luckily, she was more than prepared from her education at Schoolcraft College and University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
“I took many science courses during my time at Schoolcraft – I earned an Associates of Science. Those classes are what piqued my interest in biology, physiology and pathology and inspired me to go into nursing,” Borgert explained. “As my wonderful and cherished days at Schoolcraft College were nearing graduation, the President of the College, Dr. Jeffress, wrote me an amazing letter of recommendation. I was 1 of 15 transfer students to get into the accelerated program.”
Borgert more than earned her letter of recommendation from the former Schoolcraft President. Her faithful involvement in extracurricular activities, such as her time as a Student Ambassador, a writer for the Schoolcraft Connection and President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society are only a few of the entries on her early resume that led her to her current path. After graduating from Schoolcraft in 2002 and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2009, the alumnus found herself working as a float nurse for Trinity Health in the Integrated Health Associates (IHA) section. During her time there, Borgert worked outpatient clinics, as a tuberculosis and CPR instructor and even as a Clinical Project Manager. As time went on though, the alumnus found that something was missing and unfulfilled from her nursing career.
“After working for IHA for a few years, a friend of mine suggested I continue working for Trinity Health but try the main hospital instead. I gave it some thought and applied. Now I’ve been working for the Trauma & Surgery Center for about 3 years and it’s awesome!” Borgert commented. “Trauma Surgery is intense and fast-paced. It really developed my critical thinking skills and shaped me to be an overall better advocate for patients. I’m humbled and honored every day I get to put on my navy-blue scrubs.”
Every day and every hall that she works, Borgert strives to remember her passion for people and the willingness she has to put their needs first. It’s incredibly important to the alumnus that she remembers that each person she tends to is someone’s parent, child and more, especially since they often come to her hospital on the worst day they’ve had and in the most severe condition they’ll ever be in. Some of them are victims of car-accidents, stabbings or even COVID-19. No matter the diagnosis, Borgert is determined to be on her A-game and is committed to spending her life saving those of others.
“It’s rewarding, fulfilling and amazing. The feeling you get when you make that difference in someone’s life and it affects the whole family is the best,” she explained. “The worst part is the opposite of that. You never forget those people that come in so badly injured that you couldn’t fix them. Those days are the toughest and it breaks my heart. It has taught me to love and appreciate every life around me.”
The path leading to any career in medicine is often perilous, tedious and full of uncertainty. Many will wonder if they can do it, whether they can overcome their limitations and one day be a member of this subculture.
To those pursuing a career in the field, Borgert leaves these closing words for advice:
“If you decide to take the leap of faith and become a member of the medical world, you can rest assured that any self-doubts or limitations you think you may have will be challenged and you will succeed with every step forward you take. I would love for every reader of this article to look within themselves and their loved ones and visualize the potential they have helping their communities. Finally, try on a pair of scrubs – it comes instantly with an amazing, yet invisible, superhero cape and a visible mask.”