From the land of the blue sky to the land of the free, Mongolian doctor finds new home at RCBC
Tuesday, Aug 17, 2021

Solongo Boknov

Over twenty years ago, Solongo Boknov completed her medical clinicals in a small city in Mongolia. There, she performed house visits as a student physician, often staying at a patient’s home through the night. Her steadfast commitment to the medical profession is deeply rooted in her upbringing. 

“I was introduced to the life of physicians through both of my parents,” Boknov shared. “By my familiarity with my inner self, I continue to pursue the same career at the age of fifty-two. When one truly knows their inner self and is able to follow their deeply rooted core principles, I believe a person has real happiness—a happiness that doesn’t depend on outside, volatile forces. I know my inner self to be a healer of people for the last two decades, ever since I first became a physician after graduating from the National Medical School of Mongolia.”

Boknov posits that she’s happiest when helping and healing others. When she first moved to the U.S. over two decades years ago, she settled in California to do just that. At the time, however, it was difficult to attend school and learn English due to financial constraints. 

“A heavy language barrier made everything seem impossible, considering that studying the sciences in the United States required great familiarity with English,” Boknov said. “After receiving my permanent card in 2007—coupled with acculturation over time—I began and excelled in ESL classes while completing nursing prerequisite courses in hopes to continue my career in medicine in the U.S.”

Rowan College at Burlington County made Boknov’s transition even more seamless by accepting her transfer credits and being responsive to her inquiries.

“I researched and called the staff about transferring, and they were very accommodating and kind,” Boknov said. “They made the process of transferring my old credits go smoothly and sounded very welcoming. Then, when I went to the campus and saw the Student Success Center, it was very modern and beautiful, so I knew I wanted to go to this college to pursue nursing.”

When she first started at RCBC, she realized just how different and rigorous the nursing curriculum is in comparison to her previous experiences in medical school in Mongolia. In her words, she assumed nursing would be a “piece of cake, as Americans say,” but it proved to be anything but. Boknov overcame many hurdles and came out ahead in the end. And, her RCBC education paid off well, as she recently passed the NCLEX exam with minimal difficulty. 

“By studying and working in the U.S., I improved my skills as a professional and learned what it means to be culturally humble and the importance of patient advocacy,” Boknov said. “I have no doubt it was all my professors' help that made the difference. The tips they taught me will help throughout my nursing career. I will never forget all their help and including me in nursing class to enhance learning modern nursing interventions and nursing plans. I am especially appreciative of how all my professors’ lessons related to real life and helped me to pass the NCLEX exam. It made it so much easier for me to recall the material when being tested on it. There is nothing I can do to repay my professors adequately for their contribution to my life.”

As for her future plans, after completing her BSN, Boknov hopes to use her knowledge, skills and compassion to help underrepresented communities, such as the Mongolian population living in the Bay Area of California. 

“Many of these people are immigrants who feel uncomfortable and confused about this country’s standard medical facilities due to language barriers and cultural differences,” Boknov said. “As a result, most of them receive medicines administered without prescriptions, basically over the counter medication without using doctors' recommendations. Additionally, some prefer non-traditional medical practices. With my skills and background, I would serve as a gateway to modern medicine in the United States for such people. My passion in intensive care and emergency medicine fuels my drive to serve the medical needs of the people in my new country.”

When Boknov decided to take an unexpected trip to America at the cost of leaving everything behind, she wasn’t sure what would happen. Although her life changed drastically, her drive remained the same, and she ultimately fell in love with nursing.  

“My dreams to excel in my career in a way that I can truly make a difference has never faltered,” Boknov shared.  

To learn more about RCBC’s nursing program, visit