A Rekindled Dream Brings Chandler to OFTC
Growing up with a parent diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis Sarah Chandler was familiar with hospitals and nurses. But as she grew older, she recognized the impact a nurse had on a patient and their family.
It was evident that “nursing was where my heart was,” Chandler said.
“I saw the difference having an amazing nurse could make in a patient or family’s confidence in the care they received and on their outlook of the situation,” she added. “I wanted to become a nurse so I could make a difference in patients and families lives in the same way some amazing nurses made a difference in my life.”
A Dream Rekindled
After high school, Chandler faced a number of challenges that caused her to put her nursing dreams on hold. She started a family and the thought of becoming a nurse was just a “distant memory of a dream” she once had, she said.
However, after the birth of her daughter Chandler unexpectedly found herself thrust back into a hospital environment.
“What we thought was going to be a day or two stay to get things back to normal became a full month plus several other admissions to hospitals,” Chandler shared.
But during their visits Chandler once again witnessed the impact of a nurse. “There were times when I didn’t know if I would bring my daughter home ever again,” she said. “Those nurses truly saved me from a very dark place during those times.”
“The care, compassion, and support they provided to meet not only my daughter’s needs but all of our emotional needs reminded me why I wanted to become a nurse in the first place,” she added.
One night while Chandler and her husband sat in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit she admitted out loud her rekindled dream. “My husband went out to get dinner and when he came back he handed me a TEAS study guide,” Chandler shared. “I knew it would be a while before I could make this dream a reality, but I knew then that somehow I would make it happen.”
Becoming a Nurse
Life settled down for Chandler and her desire to become a nurse only grew. She decided it was time to finally pursue this dream and applied to Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Practical Nursing program. She started last fall.
Balancing school and the responsibilities that come with three children hasn’t been easy, but Chandler’s determined to make it work.
“I’ve found that properly planning has really helped,” she said. “Just looking ahead to see what we have going on the next week in class and planning for it has helped me find balance. I’m not going to say it’s not a lot of late nights and early mornings, but it’s doable if you really try.”
Weeks away from completing the program, Chandler is even more confident that nursing is where she belongs.
“My favorite part about nursing is helping my patients,” she said, helping them physically and providing a sense of care that helps them emotionally. I enjoy being able to treat the patient as a whole – providing good medical care but also emotional comfort.”
Confident in her training, Chandler appreciates the attention she and her classmates receive from their instructors.
“I learned something new every day,” she said. “The instructors expect you to be the best you can be and give you the constructive criticism you need to help you get there.”
Worth the Journey
Even though it didn’t happen like she thought, Chandler said her journey to become a nurse was worth it.
“I was nervous when I returned to school after years of being a stay-at-home parent but every faculty member I’ve come in contact with has been willing to help me succeed,” Chandler shared. “Everyone has been ready to help me get where I want to be in life.”
Chandler will complete the practical nursing program in August and is then eligible to sit for the National Counsil Licensure Examination – PN to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. After she works in-field for one year she plans to return to OFTC as a student in the Associate Degree in Nursing Bridge Program to become a Licensed Registered Nurse.
“I would just have to tell someone who might be thinking about starting college to ‘go for it,’ she said. It’s never too late. I would much rather spend the rest of my life doing something I love than be stuck in a position that’s not ideal for me.”
“It might not be the easiest thing in the world to do, especially if you have children or are working full-time, but it will definitely be worth it in the end,” she added.