“I couldn’t have imagined in a million years I’d be where I am today.”
South University, Richmond Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate Shirrelle Everett dropped out of school when she was just 14 years old. Now, thanks to an incredible amount of hard work and perseverance, she is a registered nurse working in intensive care.
“It took me almost ten years to realize that without an education I would be stuck working for minimum wage at dead-end jobs,” she recalls. “I was a single mother of two children living on welfare.”
Everett’s educational abilities were assessed as being at a 6th grade level. Undaunted, she began teaching herself out of workbooks five hours a day until she was able to take the exam for a General Education Diploma (GED®). She passed on the first try, and then entered a program to become a licensed practical nurse. More than a decade later, she enrolled in South University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
“South University allowed me to gain the knowledge and skills needed to advance my career at my own pace,” she says. “My education has enabled me to take care of my family.”
Everett now cares for the most critically ill patients in Intensive Care Units across Virginia and Maryland for Aya Healthcare, based in San Diego.
“I provide direct care to patients in life-threatening situations,” Everett explains. “The patients in these units are individuals who have cardiac instability, brain injuries, and a very broad range of other health conditions.”
Despite a demanding career, Everett is now enrolled in South University, Richmond’s Master of Science in Nursing with a Specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner program. Eventually, she would like to earn her Doctor of Nursing Practice and run a non-profit healthcare clinic focusing on disease prevention and health education. Her advice to anyone looking to make a better life for themselves and their family through education is simple.
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Never get discouraged; never give up, because consistency and dedication are the keys to success.”
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