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“It’s easy to think it’s too late and you’ve missed your opportunity. But it’s never too late.” – Angi Wood, TCC student

Angela “Angi” Wood says the most important thing she’s learned at TCC is how to be a compassionate nurse.

She credits her nursing skills instructor, Catina Davis, with inspiring her to be an excellent nurse, while also teaching her the nursing process and critical thinking on the job.

Angi is an adult learner who returned to TCC to earn her nursing degree, after spending more than a decade as a stay-at-home mom with her daughter, Adelaide, who is now her biggest cheerleader.

“I hear my daughter telling her friends that I’m in nursing school and she’s really proud,” Angi said. “It’s easy to think it’s too late and you’ve missed the opportunity. But it’s never too late.”

Angi, 41, selected TCC’s nursing program because of its strong reputation in the community and the resources available for students.

“I like the challenge and rigor of the program,” she said. “And TCC has the equipment and simulators to help you gain the skills needed to be a great nurse,” she added.

Angi says that at one point the pressure of adding school to her already busy life was really challenging. “I was dealing with family demands, the pandemic, along with school and work. When I heard about the mental health counseling offered at TCC, I jumped at the opportunity.”

She signed up through TimelyCare, a service provided through Virginia’s Community Colleges. “I worked with my counselor on interventions for stress management and coping skills. At first, we met weekly and now we talk every other week. It’s made a big difference,” she said.

TCC’s nursing program includes clinical rotations in area hospitals, and that’s where Angi found her fit in the Intensive Care Unit. She hopes to land a full-time position after graduation and when she becomes a registered nurse. “It takes a lot of skill to care for critical care patients, and TCC’s program has prepared me well for the task ahead,” she said.

Angi is on track to earn her Associate of Science in Nursing in December 2022. She is earning her bachelor’s in nursing from Old Dominion University concurrently.

Angi’s family, including her husband Randall, and their daughter Adelaide, will be there to cheer her on when she graduates from TCC.

“I got a great education at TCC that’s going to translate into a rewarding career,” Angi said. “I’m ready for the work and looking forward to serving my community.”

For more information on TimelyCare and the other student support services available through the Student Resource and Empowerment Center, visit here.

Nursing grad receives job offer and $5,000 signing bonus

Going to school during the pandemic was especially difficult for Alexis Murphy who lost her mom due to COVID-19 in January of 2020, mere weeks after starting nursing school at Tidewater Community College.

“The hardest part was my planning mom’s funeral while acclimating to nursing school,” Alexis said. “But it was my way of honoring her to show up for class, not make any excuses and keep moving in my schooling.”

Alexis outside the nursing school at Portsmouth Campus.

Alexis is one of the hundreds of graduates who will be celebrated during TCC’s 73rd Commencement Exercises on Dec. 20. She will earn an Associate of Science in Nursing.

Alexis has more to celebrate as she recently received a job offer from Sentara Healthcare to join one of the critical care teams at Sentara Leigh hospital. She also received a $5,000 signing bonus.

“My grandmother was a nurse, and I grew up hearing stories about her day. I loved the compassion she had for sick and injured people,” Alexis said.

Alexis is preparing to take her national boards and is confident that she will do well. She attributes much of her success to the nursing faculty who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to lectures and labs.

State-of-the-art patient simulators added to the learning. “The sim rooms are amazing, and the mannequins seem so natural – they breathe, bleed and have emergency situations. Faculty work behind the scenes to run codes so we know how to react in the clinical setting,” Alexis said.

Nursing students complete 500 “clinical” hours of hands-on training in hospitals and clinics, all before graduation.

“We never missed a beat, and TCC did a really good job keeping the clinicals going during the pandemic,” she added.

Alexis earned two scholarships at TCC including the Ruth Pate Memorial Scholarship and the

Holly Hogge-Biagioni Memorial Nursing Scholarship. She served as secretary of the Student Nurses Association and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year schools.

Alexis also earned her bachelor’s in nursing this December, concurrently with her associate degree, through a special program with Old Dominion University.

Alexis’ husband Eric, who she calls her super support team, will be cheering her success from the stands at Commencement.

“I knew this was what I was meant to do, and I’m so excited to get started,” Alexis said. “My mom received great care in the hospital with COVID, and I want to do the same for other families.”