By Rebecca Rakoczy

ATLANTA — Fatin Bakhouy’s resume reads like a Renaissance woman’s: a degree in accounting, a master’s in business administration and a license to practice real estate. On May 4, she’ll turn her tassel once more, at Georgia State’s Perimeter College commencement ceremony, and add an associate of science in nursing to her qualifications.

But she isn’t quite finished. Bakhouy plans to continue her studies on Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus through the Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing & Health Professions’ RN-to-BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program.

Despite her background in business and real estate, Bakhouy says becoming a nurse will be the realization of a lifelong dream.

“As a child, I always loved those medical forensic shows, and I knew I wanted to help people,” she said. “It’s just a fascinating field to me.”

She says a nursing schedule will also allow her to spend more time with her family, which is more important than ever right now. Bakhouy has a 7-year-old daughter, Leyane, who recently fell ill with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura — a condition that attacks the blood’s white cell platelets, causing bruising and bleeding — as well as a 9-year-old son, Keenan, who is on the autism spectrum.

Bakhouy has one more hurdle to conquer to become an RN: Passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). But she’s certainly not one to shy away from a challenge.

She entered Perimeter’s competitive nursing career program at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, following advice from a friend who had recently graduated. She completed her first year of coursework almost entirely online, which wasn’t easy, but Bakhouy says her instructors took special care to help students adjust to the departure from on-campus studies. When they returned to face-to-face learning, Bakhouy says she and her peers were retested on their clinical skills, which was critical to her confidence.

“It validated what we knew,” she said.

Bakhouy experienced another life-altering event at the start of her final semester, and her call to help others through medicine hit closer to home than she ever imagined.

Following her daughter’s diagnosis, finding time to study became almost impossible, and Bakhouy struggled to keep up with her classes. But she says she called on her unrelenting drive, plus support from the nursing faculty, to double down and work out a schedule.

She can’t say enough about her professors at Perimeter, whom she called “nurturing and caring.” And she’s proud of herself, too.

“I definitely persevered,” she said. “I had an end goal in sight to graduate.”

Bakhouy will apply that same brand of determination to conquering the NCLEX and completing the RN-to-BSN program at Georgia State. She’s got her sights set on an eventual career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a charge to care for others, like she always imagined.

Photo by Bill Roa 

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