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Reflecting Success: RichmondCC nursing graduate, mother of seven achieves her dreams of becoming a registered nurse

Monica Jacobs was able to complete her nursing degree at RichmondCC, despite her home being damaged during a hurricane.

HAMLET — Mother of seven Monica Jacobs, of Pembroke, graduated from the Associate Degree in Nursing program at Richmond Community College in 2019. Currently, she is employed with Scotland Memorial Hospital as a labor and delivery nurse.

Prior to being admitted to the RichmondCC Nursing program, Jacobs was a manager for an assisted living facility for 10 years and earned an Associate in Science degree from a different college.

However, Jacobs always had a dream of becoming a registered nurse. 

“I had heard so much about RichmondCC from former students and they all spoke very highly of the faculty and staff. After meeting Ms. Crystal Shaw, I immediately felt part of the RichmondCC family and knew this is where I needed to be,” Jacobs said. 

Unfortunately, halfway through the nursing program she thought her dream was over.

In 2018, Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas and did substantial damage to many areas in its path. Jacobs’ home was in the path of the hurricane and was severely flooded.

“Due to this unforeseen complication, I feared having to quit school and go back into the workforce to pay for the repairs on my home,” she said.

Little did she know that there were funds and financial assistance available for students who had experienced hardships because of this natural disaster. With the help of RichmondCC, Jacobs was able to continue with her educational journey on becoming a nurse.  

“Mrs. Sims encouraged me to apply for a grant the school had to help with these unforeseen bills and I was approved. The grant allowed me to stay in school and finish my degree on time,” she said.

Janet Sims, dean of Allied Health and Human Services for RichmondCC, said the first time she met Jacobs she was struck by her caring nature and positive attitude.

“Throughout her two-year school of nursing journey, she stood out with her words of encouragement for her classmates and her easy bright smile for whomever she encountered. Monica is an asset to the nursing profession and I am proud to claim her as one of my colleagues,” said Sims.

After successfully graduating from RichmondCC’s nursing program, Jacobs immediately began her career as a registered nurse at Scotland Memorial Hospital in the Labor & Delivery unit. 

She thought it would be easy for her because she had experienced childbirth seven times. 


“I knew that I wanted to work in labor & delivery and I thought it would be a walk in the park because I have so many kids, I was so wrong! I learned so much right out of nursing school and by working in labor and delivery,” she said. 

Jacobs said RichmondCC’s hands-on approach prepared her for a successful nursing career. She felt it put her ahead of many of the students who took the four-year nursing school path. In fact, she was offered a full scholarship to take that route at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Being very family oriented, however, she thought it was best to stay close to home.

“In nursing orientation, we were grouped with nurses who had achieved their nursing degree through a four-year university. It was obvious that the associate degree nursing students especially, from RichmondCC, were better prepared on a clinical level than the nurses who had gone the Bachelor of Science in Nursing path,” she said.

Just after starting her new career, she applied to the Bachelor of Nursing program at Fayetteville State University. She completed this program in 11 months. Jacobs has no plans of stopping there. She now has her sights set on a Master of Science in Nursing and has applied to several universities for graduate school. She has been accepted to Duke University and is anticipating acceptance letters from other programs in which she applied. 

“I know without a doubt that RichmondCC prepared me for this.I can only hope one day to help future nurses as the nursing staff at RichmondCC did for me,” Jacobs said. 

About the Program

The Associate Degree Nursing curriculum provides knowledge, skills, and strategies to integrate safety and quality into nursing care, to practice in a dynamic environment, and to meet individual needs that impact health and, quality of life.

Graduates of RichmondCC’s ADN program are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination. Upon successful completion of the course and exam, graduates have vast employment opportunities within the global health care system, including positions within acute, chronic, extended, industrial, and community health care facilities.

Additionally, RichmondCC has a one-year practical nursing diploma program. The Practical Nursing curriculum prepares individuals with the knowledge and skills to provide nursing care to children and adults. Students will participate in assessment, planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care.

Practical Nursing graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Employment opportunities include hospitals, rehabilitation/long term care/home health facilities, clinics, and physicians’ offices.

Applying to the Nursing Program

If anyone is interested in a nursing career, applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2021 class. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2021. To apply, students must have a 2.5 grade-point average and score a 58 or higher on the composite and 55 on the math sections of the Test of Essential Academic Skills. Students must also submit documentation of an N.C. State approved Nursing Assistant I training and registry. RichmondCC offers nursing assistant classes as a workforce training at the Scotland County Campus in Laurinburg and as a part of the pre-nursing curriculum at the Hamlet Campus. Both pathways provide the state approved certified nursing assistant credentials required for application.

For more information about the Associate Degree Nursing and Practical Nursing program, contact Janet Sims, Dean of Allied Health & Human Services, at 910-410-1889 or email atjmsims@richmondcc.edu. To learn more about other healthcare related programs contact RichmondCC, contact Student Services at 910-410-1700 or visit the College’s website at www.richmondcc.edu.