WCU-OC BSN Graduate Spotlight: Kristine Bunales

Kristine Bunales wasn’t always sure she wanted to be a nurse. She knew she loved helping people, but an early anatomy course almost detoured her career path. 

“I took an anatomy class and was like ‘oh, man, this is way too much to memorize,’ so I decided to do computer engineering,” she said. “Then, I took a class and was like, ‘oh, this is not for me!’ I figured, I do love working with people, and realized that nursing was my passion.” 

The West Coast University-Orange County bachelor of science in nursing graduate shared that while school has been challenging, she never wanted to give up. 

“Nursing school has been really tough but helping people, that’s just my passion,” Kristine shared. “I think it takes a certain kind of person to be a nurse. You have to be very empathetic and caring. I just want to do what I can and help patients feel better even in the smallest of ways.” 

With some of Kristine’s key courses occurring during the pandemic shutdown in 2020, switching to online courses made school more difficult for her. 

“It was really tough, for me honestly, because I’m more of a hands-on learner, so it was hard to pay attention,” she shared. “I learned I focus better when I’m outside of the house – so, whether I’d go to a coffee shop, or just outside in my backyard – that helped me a lot.” 

Throughout it all, Kristine leaned on her own personal encounter with nurses who helped her through a traumatic experience, to keep pursuing her dream. 

“I want to help people who may have also been through something similar, who went through what I went through and be that inspiration for them,” she shared. “To have nurses who are very caring and helpful and very emotionally intuitive as well – it makes all the difference. So, I want to be that for my patients in the future.” 

Now hard at work on passing her RN licensing exam, Kristine has her eye on the prize and reflects on her pinning with gratitude. 

“We’re very grateful for having this experience and for being able to have a pinning ceremony and a celebration because I know not everyone was able to have that,” she shared. “I just want to say thank you to West Coast for that opportunity.” 

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