Missouri State University
Beri Diane Fonyuy-Bamnjo

Beri Diane Fonyuy-Bamnjo

Despite life throwing curveballs, she kept moving

Beri Diane Fonyuy-Bamnjo can see the light at the end of the tunnel on her Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia journey.

Beri Diane Fonyuy-Bamnjo immigrated from Cameroon, West Africa to the United States 18 years ago. Almost 20 years later she finds herself a senior in the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia program in Missouri State's School of Anesthesia.

Bamnjo’s mom was a retired nurse and the one who inspired her to pursue a career in nursing in the first place.

After completing her Registered Nurse-Bachelor of Science degree in 2014, Bamnjo began looking for options for advanced practice roles.

“Up front, the nurse anesthesia program sounded quite interesting, but I was aware of the challenges of transitioning from working in medical-surgical telemetry to the intensive care unit (a requirement for anesthesia school), so I brushed it off at the time,” she said. “Yet, something deep inside me kept reminding me about the nurse anesthesia program. The uniqueness, intensity of the curriculum and training, the autonomy of the career, and the fact that it is the highest degree of specialization were quite intriguing to me.”

Battling through adversity

Despite possible obstacles ahead, Bamnjo began the first step toward a nurse anesthesia career and applied for an ICU position.

“Life always throws a curve ball when you least expect it,” she said.

“Although the desire to quit this dream became overwhelming, I never gave up.”

During that period, her husband lost his job, she became the sole provider for her family and she had to work extended hours to provide for them. At some point, she said it seemed unreasonable to think she could ever achieve her lifelong professional goal of becoming a nurse anesthetist.

Two years into her tribulation, she transferred to the ICU, her husband found a job, and she immediately started applying for admission into a CRNA program. She was accepted to Missouri State's School of Anesthesia and began her journey in May 2020.

By her May 2023 graduation, Bamnjo will be on her sixth clinical site.

“I have experienced the good, bad, and ugly sides of Nurse Anesthesia clinical practice,” she said. “Those experiences have molded me into a highly confident provider and a potentially outstanding CRNA when I graduate.”

Persistence pays off

Bamnjo advises future anesthesia students to keep moving one step at a time and never give up.

“MSU's program is intensive and will push you to the limits. Some days you will question your decision, wondering if you made the right choice. It will be one of the most challenging academic and professional journeys you embark on,” Bamnjo said. 

“It has been a lengthy journey, but my strong motivation and resilience have led me this far. The nurse anesthesia program has been quite challenging, but the training and skills acquired are priceless. As I progress toward the end of the programs, I owe my success so far to the unconditional support of my husband, my boys, my parents, my extended family, and my friends.”