Shannon Smith
I have been an RN for over 20 years.  Being an RN was a life dream that did not come easily for me.  Like some, I had many obstacles and challenges thrown my way during my college days.  Because of my home life and lack of support, I had to work really hard to pay for my education, housing, and day to day living expenses while attending school. It was not an easy time in my life but I was determined and nothing was going to stop me.  As a result, it took me 9 years to complete my prerequisites and nursing school at the local community college.

Luckily, I received a little bit of financial help during my first semester of nursing school.  It made a huge difference as it allowed more time for me to focus on my studies.  I no longer needed to work two, and sometimes three jobs, to get by with all of my expenses.  When I look back now, I honestly do not think I could have survived nursing school without that financial help.  The demands of nursing school is very stressful and consumed all of my time.  I can remember the countless hours spent studying with my study group, going to clinicals, sitting through lectures in the classroom, and working on care plans every week.

When I finally graduated, I felt truly accomplished but my educational journey was not yet finished.  I need to first get started on my nursing career and transition from a new grad to an experienced nurse.  While becoming an experienced nurse takes many years, I allowed myself about a year and a half to build up my nursing skills and experience before hitting the books again.  I went back to school and earned my BSN while working full time.  It wasn’t easy to juggle work and school again, but I was determined.  At the time, I was working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and they paid for my tuition in full.  In addition, I was given an additional $250 annually for additional educational costs.  This money was allocated to textbooks, which helped tremendously.

The financial assistance I received during nursing school and my BSN program truly made a difference for me.  I have never forgotten it and will always be grateful for the help.  It would have been just soul crushing to not achieve my dream of becoming an RN due to financial  setbacks.  All these years later, I still love being a nurse and feel it is my true calling in life.  I want to help others reach their dream of becoming an RN.    

Richard Smith
Sam Smith