From Ukrainian Business to American Nursing, Olha Finnelly Starts a New Career at NTC

Olha Finnelly
Olha Finnelly

About NTC’s Nursing Programs

At Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, students can obtain a variety of credentials in nursing, including a certified nursing assistant certificate, a diploma in practical nursing, and associate’s degrees in nursing — a step-in program for Licensed Practical Nurses that can be completed in one year, and a nursing generic track program that can be completed in two years. Graduates of both associate’s degree programs are eligible to apply for licensure as a registered nurse. Each credential at NTC builds on the one before it, and all offer job opportunities in the Bemidji region. For more information, contact the NTC Office of Admissions at, call (218) 333-6600 and ask for admissions or visit

After spending a decade working in the business sector of Ukraine, Northwest Technical College student Olha Finnelly was drawn to the high-paced and versatile working environment of nursing. She packed her bags, moved to Bemidji, Minnesota, and began her journey to become a nurse.

Driven to start her career as soon as possible, Finnelly first enrolled in Northwest Tech’s three-credit nursing assistant program and started volunteering as a baby rocker in Sanford Heath of Bemidji’s obstetrics unit. After completing the course, Finnelly enrolled in NTC’s licensed practical nursing program and began rotations in Sanford’s medical, surgical and orthopedic unit.

“I liked the possibility to enter the workforce as a nurse with only a couple of years of college and the ability to continue my education while working,” Finnelly said. “The nursing profession offers the freedom and flexibility to choose the best fit for myself and to change it if I want to. This profession has something to offer everyone.”

After graduating with her diploma in practical nursing in 2019, Finnelly started working in several clinics at Sanford and began NTC’s associate of science in nursing program, a three-semester step-in program for LPNs who wish to become registered nurses. Now she is on track to graduate as a registered nurse in Spring 2022 and plans to start the bachelor of science in nursing program at Bemidji State University the following year.

“Northwest Technical College was the best match for my plan to earn my LPN diploma and then start working toward becoming an RN,” she said. “I am definitely thinking about going further to get my BSN and Bemidji State University is the number one choice on my list.”

Finnelly, who speaks Ukrainian, Russian and English, plans to continue moving onward and upward toward her nursing goals while making a difference in the world.

“Nursing is a great way to support my family while making a valuable contribution to the community,” she said. “I am very grateful to the NTC nursing faculty for their support and dedication. I definitely owe them a lot for my success. My biggest advice to future nursing students is to keep your goal in mind and study hard – not only to pass your test but because one day it will really make a difference!”




MN State logoNorthwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, has prepared students for fulfilling careers in high-demand fields for more than 50 years. The college’s accessible, affordable, hands-on programs also help the region’s employers meet their ever-growing need for a highly skilled workforce. NTC serves more than 1,000 students with an excellent education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. Students may pursue nearly 40 degree, diploma and certificate programs in six distinct career paths. Classes are offered on campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. For more, visit