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How a grant-funded program enabled this Easter Shore Community College student and mom-of-two to thrive

In August 2020, a well-organized and determined young woman contacted Your Eastern Shore Community College seeking information about RSVP Nurse Aide, a new grant-funded program at ESCC. 

The RSVP program covers funding for tuition, books, childcare, and a grant for completing the program. In addition to being a perfect candidate for the program, this particular student, Nicole Moore, decided that she would also get her GED.

In the fall of 2020, Nicole and her fellow students completed an 8-week prerequisite class in Healthcare Fundamentals. They then transitioned directly into the nurse aide class in the spring semester. 

Upon successful completion of the nurse aide class, students were qualified to sit for the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam, and those who pass the exam are recognized as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).  

Student second, Mom first

Nicole’s perseverance, leadership, and enterprise became evident to the RSVP Team early on. She tackled school and work with the same dedication she gives to her family. This observation of the remarkable is most evident in the organization and orchestration of a finely turned routine she adheres to while juggling the duties of raising a family, going to school, and working three jobs. 

Nicole prioritizes her children while still working an average of 70 hours per week. She works 28 hours a week as a Certified Personal Aide for Briggs Home Health, she works 21 hours a week with infants and babies at Saint Paul on the Shore Daycare, and she shoulders the daily care for a private duty charge near her home for another 21 hours a week.

It is no surprise that Nicole’s biggest challenge is time. The nursing path requires a lot of study; however, she feels strongly that her two children, Gabriella 16 and Zoey 10, are her top priority. Whether its spending time together having dinner, going over homework with Zoey, or setting the example in nursing education for Gabriella, Nicole strives to make the most of each night as it passes by so quickly before it’s time to head out again to tend to her private duty client. 

A GED in three months

Nicole’s ambition, drive, and determination are infectious. She earned her GED in record time, by early December 2020, before completing the Healthcare Fundamentals class in which she excelled. 

In the nurse aide class she earned recognition for the highest-grade point average, shared with one other classmate. In addition to these achievements, and made possible by funding from the grant, Nicole completed the Ethics in Nursing (HLT 145) class which then met the requirements for her to be awarded a Career Studies Certificate in Nurse Aide. As a result, she earned the privilege to walk in the upcoming ESCC 2021 graduation ceremony.

Nicole says, “The RSVP program has changed my life. They helped me with childcare and that was the key factor that made it possible for me to do this.

“The team also gave me the inspiration to change my life, the encouragement and push that I needed to finally get my GED within 3 months… after waiting with doubt for 16 years.”  

With the support of the RSVP Team, Nicole was able to overcome the lingering barrier of self-doubt that ensnared her – rise above it she did. Funding from the grant also removed a barrier to education by covering a car repair so that Nicole could continue uninterrupted with her classes and achieve her goal. 

Within the coming year, Nicole aspires to have passed the nurse aide state board test on the first available date to become a CNA, after which she intends to enroll in the pre-nursing track at ESCC and journey through the practical nursing (LPN) program. 

Within five years, Nicole aims to be accepted into the registered nursing program delivered at ESCC in partnership with Tidewater Community College. Nicole’s goal is to work for Riverside Hospital in Onley. 

At ESCC, Nicole’s story is what we call a YES!—which stands for Your Eastern Shore and represents the college’s culture of hospitality, accountability, and inclusion. We are inspired that Nicole said YES! to herself, pursued her goal, and achieved.

Barb Rang is the FastForward Career Coach, and JoLynn Hart is an adult education instructor at Your Eastern Shore Community College.

This article first published on ESCC’s website and was penned by Barb Rang and JoLyn Hart.