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Nursing grads passionate about providing quality care

Jennifer Froscher and Tahani Amareen are soon to be proud Tidewater Community College Nursing graduates. They started in the program during the pandemic, desiring to help their community when the need was great.

Their cohort, which usually has 60 students, started with 29 because of the limited clinical spots available in busy hospitals. They are among 22 nursing students graduating this December.

Jennifer Froscher on the Portsmouth Campus.

Jennifer Froscher’s story

Jennifer is following her mother and grandmother into nursing.

“I was in second grade when mom started nursing school. She’d bring me to lectures and I’d color or read while she learned,” Jennifer said. “It made an impression when she became a nurse at 41.”

Jennifer, too, is on track to become a nurse at 41. This December she will walk the stage during fall commencement and earn an Associate of Science in Nursing.

“The nursing program is extensive because you have to be able to understand what is happening to people physiologically to be able to help them,” she said. “There were a lot of tears that first semester. I had to change my critical thinking process and learn to think like a nurse.”

For the past decade, Jennifer has worked in the health professions, first as an Emergency Medical Technician and later as a Nurse Aide. She currently works as a Care Partner at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in the neurology Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

TCC’s nursing program includes clinical rotations in area hospitals and clinics. Jennifer completed her training at Sentara as a nurse in training in that ICU unit.

“I’m so thankful to get this degree. I’m prepared to go into the workforce and be a competent nurse,” she said. “That’s absolutely critical when you are dealing with people’s lives.”

Jennifer says that her education was very personal and her professors were dedicated to her success. “Your professors know you and can tell you exactly what to work on to become proficient,” Jennifer said.  “And while they can be tough, they match that with great caring and professional experience.”

Jennifer has already been offered a full-time nursing position in the ICU where she currently works.

“I’m excited to get started,” she said. “I feel like I’ve been everyone’s kid sister and now I get to be a nurse working with people I enjoy in a place I’m very comfortable. It’s a real gift.”

Tahani Amareen’s story

Tahani Amareen near at TCC’s nursing school.

While Tahani was on Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth Campus working on her Associate of Science in Science, she met a lot of students who were in the nursing program.

“I started thinking about my path and I could see myself as a nurse. So, I completed one degree and started again,” Tahani said.

Fast forward two years and Tahani, 22, is earning her second degree – this one in nursing. She is concurrently working on her bachelor’s in nursing through Old Dominion University.

A native of Palestine, Tahani came to the United States when she was eight. When it was time for college, she followed her brothers to TCC, where they both earned Information System Technology degrees.

“I think it’s important to give back to the community and help out as much as possible,” she said. “With the nursing shortage, I know I’m definitely needed.”

The Chesapeake resident says that she was a little nervous about her clinical rotations at the start. “It’s a little nerve racking going in with no experience, but each opportunity helped me gain confidence in working in the hospital setting.”

Tahani is planning to work on a medical-surgical unit to start but would one day like to work with children. “I’m passionate about this work,” she said. “I look forward to being a helping hand in the community.”

Tahani and Jennifer in the medical simulator on Portsmouth Campus.

TCC named one of the best Nursing programs in Virginia

Tidewater Community College was recognized by Nursing School Almanac as a top nursing school in Virginia.

TCC’s Nursing program is a “Best Associate Degree in Nursing” and ranked 11 out of 37 two-year degree programs in Virginia.

The ranking was largely based on the first-time pass rate for students taking the state licensing exam, which is the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses). This ranking is based on data from 2011-2020.

The first-time pass rate for TCC students for 2020 was 94 percent. For the ranking period of 2011-2020, it was 89 percent. Aspiring registered nurses in the United States must pass this examination before they begin practicing nursing.

TCC’s nursing program is known for its state-of-the-art classrooms, small class sizes, simulation labs and highly-trained faculty. The program is offered at the college’s Portsmouth Campus and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Every year, TCC prepares close to 100 students to become nurses in area hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices.

For more information about the Nursing program at TCC, email Rita Bouchard, dean of nursing, at

Surf’s up for TCC student

Rachel Wilson is making waves.

At 17, she’s a pro surfer, but she’s also a college student. Wilson is getting a head start on a degree with dual enrollment courses at Tidewater Community College.

The Virginia Beach native began taking dual enrollment courses at TCC last fall.  When she finishes high school in December, she will have nearly two semesters of college completed.

Online courses allow the homeschooled high school senior to travel to wherever the World Surf League Qualifying Series takes her.

“There have been no surprises at TCC. Online learning works for me, and the professors have been really great,” Wilson said. “It’s beneficial having deadlines and a schedule.”

Dubbed the “Giant Killer,” Wilson became the first female to qualify for the finals at the East Coast Surfing Championships last month in Virginia Beach. While the pandemic shut down competitions for a time, Wilson is stoked to be back on her board.

“I missed competing so much,” Wilson said. “I love free surfing, but competing is my favorite thing to do. I love getting to travel and compete against awesome people who push you to get better.”

Wilson, who regularly surfs at the First Street jetty, has set her sights on the World Tour, where she hopes to compete against the top 17 women in the world. “It’s super difficult to compete at that level, but with training and good coaches, I’m hoping to make it,” she said.

Wilson, who has earned all A’s in college, plans to pursue an associate in nursing at TCC.

“My sister-in-law is a nurse who came through the program. She inspired me to follow in her footsteps,” she said.

Before the pandemic, Wilson volunteered at Sentara Norfolk General, an experience that confirmed her passion for field.

 “My mom had some health problems, and I saw her getting care,” she said. “I’d like to be on the frontlines and also have a career where I can support myself.”

Wilson is the youngest of four and the third sibling in her family to study at TCC. “For me, TCC has been a seamless transition,” Wilson said. “And while I’m not getting the social aspects of college right now, I’m learning and working hard. That’s what is most important to me.”

Navy wife fulfills life goal with nursing degree

Fashion model in Milan?

Stephanie Overfelt did that as a teen.

Bachelor’s in Mandarin Chinese?


Snowboard instructor on a mountain?

“Park City Mountain Resort in Utah,” she says. “I flew out the weekend before finals and earned one of eight positions.”

But really she’s always known inside that she was meant to be a nurse.

“I wanted to do nursing but didn’t believe in myself enough,” she said.

Overfelt, 39, will graduate on May 11 from Tidewater Community College with her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. She will start a job at DePaul Medical Center this summer.

As an oncologist’s daughter, Overfelt developed an interest in medicine, but was overwhelmed in her first college chemistry class of 300 or more at Arizona State University. Instead, she gravitated toward what was comfortable.

“I was home-schooled and one of my tutors was Chinese, so it was familiar,” she said.

Overfelt with her family

By the time Overfelt married a Navy sailor, she realized she had the brains and savvy to do anything she wanted. Even with four kids in tow and a husband on deployment, nursing still appealed to her.

She started at TCC five years ago by completing a handful of prerequisites for the program. Back then, she home-schooled the kids, who today range in age from 7-13.

“It’s been a journey; this has tried me more than anything,” she said. “If I had been single with no kids, it would have been a different story. As far as nursing school itself, it’s been amazing. It’s tried me in every way possible.”

Sometimes she’d leave her home in the Red Mill area of Virginia Beach for clinical rotations as far away as Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News. She listed tasks for her kids in 15-minute increments to ensure they were out the door to school on time on those days when she was out the door before they were awake.

Overfelt relied on her innate organizational skills, sometimes setting her alarm for 3 a.m., to study, giving her three quiet hours to study.

“I couldn’t have done it with any other kids,” she joked. “They were great.”

Overfelt found camaraderie with her peers at TCC and inspiration in professors Shannon Washington and Kirstie Robinson.

“They were phenomenal; they really wanted to see us succeed,” Overfelt said.

By spring break, Overfelt lined up a job at DePaul, where she will work in intensive care, a unit dominated by COVID-19 patients. “I’m excited right now to do it,” she said.

“I’m really proud of this accomplishment. Everybody should be no matter what their college journey is. It is an accomplishment. It’s being disciplined enough to study, to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this. And achieve this. And conquer this and learn this.’ I’m glad that my kids got to see this journey.”