College Graduate Turns to Thomas Nelson for New Nursing Career

Published: November 30, 2011

When Stephanie Barnes enrolled in the nursing program at Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC), she was already a college graduate. The University of Mary Washington alum earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2007, but the economic slump dampened her dreams of a career in creative writing and speech. “I graduated just before the recession really hit, so I saw friends get awesome jobs and then lose them when companies [laid] off their newest hires,” Barnes said.

When it was time to train for a different career, Barnes saw Thomas Nelson as the most logical choice. Her father attended TNCC and her aunt graduated from the nursing program. Her cousin is a current student at TNCC. Barnes enrolled in 2009. “Having completing an [undergrad] degree, I didn’t know what to expect at a community college. I was thrilled to find that studying at TNCC has been such a positive experience… I’ve had incredible teachers who are willing to go the extra mile to make sure that I succeed, and classmates who are passionate about their education,” Barnes said.

Thomas Nelson’s nursing program prepares students for entry-level positions as registered nurses and for degree programs at four-year institutions. The College’s new nursing facility on the Hampton campus opened during the fall 2011 semester and provides a state-of-the-art learning experience with patient simulators that teach students to take vital signs, administer medications, dress wounds and more. Barnes, who will complete the program requirements in May, says she has greatly benefited from the new virtual birthing suite that allows her to explore her aspirations of becoming a maternity nurse. She looks forward to working in a local healthcare facility and plans to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field. “It is important to me to do the best I can in school, so that I can give competent care to my patients,” she said.

Barnes is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and serves as the President of TNCC’s chapter of the Student Nurses Association, an international organization that participates in fundraisers and community service and mentoring projects. As a second-year nursing student, she enjoys helping the first-year students maximize their time at TNCC with study tips and other helpful information. “Thomas Nelson is a great place to grow personally, professionally and academically. During my time at TNCC, [I have] worked with excellent professors in a professional environment suited to the adult learner.”

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Comment from ashley blackwell - December 12, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I really find it encouraging to see someone going down the same road as myself.I was looking into the MURSING FIELD as well…I went to school for SOCIAL WORK and with alot of changes its hard out here….keep up the good work!!!!

Comment from June - March 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I too find it encouraging to see someone in the same boat as me. I graduated in May 2011 with a bachelor’s in Accounting and have not found a job. I’m currently looking into area nursing programs.