2020 Graduate Ties Back Mask to Serve on Front Lines

Authored By: sjoqu032 05/18/2020

University of Minnesota Rochester Alumna and Distinguished Capstone Award winner Besima Majetic, is facing COVID-19 head on. As a Besima Headshotrecent 2020 graduate, Majetic’s time at UMR was not the traditional college experience, she began her career at UMR as a transfer student. Majetic’s parents immigrated to the United States in 1997 as refugees from Bosnia due to the Bosnian-Serbian war. Majetics’s diverse background and family story drives her curiosity to learn more about others. Her Capstone “Serving Among Diversity: A Story From a Health Care Soldier” focused on diversity in health care. 

Majetic is employed by Mayo Clinic as a phlebotomist, working on several different floors including the ICU. By happenstance, she fell into this career and hasn’t looked back. Her passion for biology and medicine align seamlessly with phlebotomy which allows her to connect with patients and hospital staff.

Phlebotomists can often be overlooked as front-line employees battling COVID-19, when in fact, they play a vital role in patient care. When asked how COVID-19 has impacted her work, Majetic’s stories were endless. When the first wave hit Washington state, Majetic knew this would soon be a reality locally. Soon after, she began to see COVID-19 positive patients during her shifts and felt the reality of it all. “It is hard to explain the mental and emotional toll of entering into your first COVID positive patient room,” Majetic recalls. “I was hyper aware of everything, but I also needed to be there for that patient.” 

As Majetic pulls back her gloves and fastens her face shield over her mask, she feels sweaty and physically uncomfortable. It takes time to gear up in all of the personal protective equipment, but she acknowledges, “the needs of the patient comes first.”

There has been a number of policy and procedural changes throughout this fluid environment. Employees spend a significant time relearning the approved ways to protect themselves from the virus. This training gives her the confidence to feel prepared during the pandemic. She also credits her educational experience, “UMR has prepared me for the real world with mock interviews, networking and even community collaboration. I value my experience at UMR greatly and I wish for other students to be able to have the same.”

Majetic describes her learning and educational experience at UMR on a different level than she had ever experienced before. She understands the importance of essential, effective communication and has learned first-hand how to troubleshoot, going back to the drawing board if needed. She also appreciated that faculty knew her on a first-name basis.

Her future career plans include moving into a Lab Operations Manager position. She feels as though she could be a strong leader and aspires to be in administration with time. UMR helped Majetic build a sense of pride for the University. But most importantly, it motivated her to make a difference in the health care world.