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My amazing journey

Friday, June 27, 2014

By the time she reached her teenage years, Nikita Ohlssen-Johnson’s affinity for animals turned into a career dream. Despite the daily challenges of multiple learning disabilities, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and a severe stutter, she held true to her aspirations.

She was thrilled to discover the one-class-a-month format at Brown Mackie College — Boise. “The educational structure and the people I met while checking out the school gave me the confidence and belief that I could attend and graduate college and in my field of choice,” Nikita says. The rigorous academics at times became overwhelming, causing Nikita to repeat several classes.

She persevered, determined to achieve her goal. As her externship approached, Nikita was disappointed when she was not placed at any of the three sites that most interested her. However, when a position became available at a veterinary office new to the externship program, Nikita interviewed for the post. “I started working there that first day,” she says. “They liked me and my work skills, knowledge, and ethics so much that they hired me on as a permanent employee before my externship time was complete.”

Nikita graduated from Brown Mackie College — Boise in 2013, earning an Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Technology. Even as she accepted her degree, she was employed as a veterinary technologist at Animals R Us, a facility run by Dr. Timothy Murphy in Boise, Idaho.

Her varied work includes appointment, surgical, lab, and duties. She greets patients and their owners, weighs the animals, and records vital signs and medical histories. She preps patients for surgery and assists the doctor during procedures, monitoring the patient. Post-surgery duties include cleaning and waking the recovering animal. In the lab, Nikita performs blood and urine analysis. “My general duties include moving patients and boarders to assigned locations, restocking rooms, cleaning surgical instruments, making the surgical packs, cleaning the clinic, and doing the laundry,” she says.

Her favorite part of the work is helping an animal in a time of need. ”Caring for them when they are most vulnerable and being a part of the team that helps them heal is very rewarding,” she says. “I love taking an animal that is sick or hurt and helping them and then seeing how much better they are when they return to the clinic.”

Brown Mackie College — Boise gave Nikita the skills and knowledge she longed for to begin the career of her dreams. “I loved the hands-on instruction. Whether it was in the lab or on a field trip, the actual interaction and practice with the animals we were learning about was much better than books or lectures. And it was more enjoyable for me,” says Nikita.

Brown Mackie College — Boise is one of over 25 school locations of the Brown Mackie College system of schools. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options are subject to change. 9050 West Overland Road, Suite 100, Boise, ID 83709 ©2014 Brown Mackie College.

See for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Important Information

Since Brown Mackie College is comprised of several institutions, see for program duration, tuition, fees, other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Brown Mackie College is a system of over 25 schools located throughout North America. Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Administrative office: 625 Eden Park Drive, Suite 1100; Cincinnati, OH 45202. Our email address is

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