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Sisters who Graduate Nursing School Together Stay Together

May 30, 2008

For as long as they can remember, sisters and best friends Melinda, 39, and Maria Nowicki, 42, have done just about everything together. And when Melinda decided to go to nursing school a few years ago, Maria didn't hesitate to join her.

"We were sitting by a friend's pool when my sister announced she was going to do this, and I immediately said I was going, too," Maria said.

Both Melinda of Marmora and Maria, who lives in Linwood, had worked for many years in the area casino and service industries. Maria had worked as a seating captain in the showroom at Caesars for 17 years; Melinda was a waitress at Ventura's Offshore Café in Northfield for nine years.

They initially decided to go through the LPN program together, then went on to pursue their RN degrees. They are set to graduate on Thursday.

"We took every class together and had a lot of fun," Maria said.

 The sisters are both single parents, so they wanted to pursue a career path that would afford them long-term stability, as well as personal satisfaction.

"I was always good with my daughter when she would go to the doctor and get shots," Melinda said. "I was a natural at it."

The sisters conceded that the nursing program was extremely difficult, and they often felt like throwing in the towel.

"But we supported each other whenever we were having trouble; we boosted each other up," Melinda said.

"It's a very hard program," Maria added. "I don't think I could have done it without her [Melinda]."

Now that they are embarking on a new career path, they continue to support each other. Maria cheered Melinda on when she was interviewed for and landed a job in the ER at Cape Regional Medical Center. Melinda has been very encouraging toward Maria while she is still in the interview process, working as a cocktail waitress at Trump Taj Mahal until she lands a full-time nursing job.

"It was time for both of us to get a career going with long-term stability," Maria concluded. "Since we do everything else together, this seemed like the right thing to do."