Skip to main content

For One Nursing Student, Graduation Equals Road Trip

Ron Ordona and his crew on their way to graduation.

Ron Ordona (in yellow) and crew at the beginning of the trip from California to Idaho for Ordona’s graduation from Boise State’s doctoral nursing program.

Ron Ordona, a student in Boise State’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice in Leadership program, has spent most of his time at Boise State off campus. Ordona runs a private clinic in Lincoln, California, and works full time as a nurse practitioner.

He road-tripped to Boise this week to celebrate the completion of his degree. And he didn’t come alone. Ordona rented a 15-seat Ford van and brought  his mother, Amparo Ordona, 85, and the entire staff from his clinic to Boise for the graduation festivities. Two more relatives are flying in from the Philippines.

Ordona said support from his staff throughout his schooling was a big reason for his success, so bringing them to Boise was an obvious choice.

The van left California Thursday morning. Ordona’s plan, he said, was to “take turns driving, take it slow.” The group made it to Boise early Thursday evening and the van was festooned with Bronco colors thanks to a giant banner from the School of Nursing. Ordona will  give the keynote speech at the School of Nursing Convocation at 4 p.m. Friday in the Jordan Ballroom.

Ordona was born and raised in the Philippines. He came to the U.S. in 2000. His family settled in California. He was first drawn to the nursing profession several years ago when his mother was ill and he saw how nurses in the intensive care unit watched over her. Boise State’s online program drew him because of its reasonable price, and because it allowed him to continue his medical practice in Lincoln.

Ron Ordana

Ron Ordona

“I think the program is unique. Being online allowed me to work full time, running a business, being with my family,” said Ordona. The annual visits to the Boise campus let him build a community of peers.

Ordona’s scholarly project and research at Boise State has focused on transitional care for seniors, using house calls to help seniors transition from the hospital to home, or to assisted living as smoothly as possible, and in a way that improves their health and lifestyle.

“The fact that my academic project revolved around what I do professionally is a big thing — improving what I already do,” Ordona said.

He credits classes at Boise State with helping him learn how to get the word out to the medical community beyond campus about his work. After graduation he’ll present his research at conferences in California, the United Kingdom and Australia. A class in policy also opened doors and set him on a path of advocacy. He’s working for “full practice authority” for nurse practitioners, or laws that would broaden the scope of procedures they’re able to perform independently, without a physician.

Pam Strohfus, associate professor and coordinator of the Doctor of Nursing Program, said she “could go on and on” about Ordona, whom she called a “wonderful human being.”

“Ron Ordona is a deeply committed hard worker who genuinely cares for his patients, staff and family. His commitment to homebound seniors goes well beyond himself as a nurse practitioner; he searches for opportunities to enhance the quality of patients’ lives through creating better healthcare processes. Mr. Ordona uniquely brings others in his journey, sharing successes, challenges and achievements.”

See more posts and photos from Ordona’s drive to Boise on the School of Nursing’s Facebook page.