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OFTCStudent Profile

‘ Nursing was where my heart was ’ A rekindled dream brought Sarah Chandler to OFTC

Image courtesy OFTC Nursing student Sarah Chandler put her dream of becoming a nurse on hold temporarily , but it hasn ’ t stopped her from pursuing her goals .

Growing up with a parent diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ( MS ), Sarah Chandler was familiar with hospital and nurse visits . But as she grew older , she recognized the impact a nurse had on patients and their families .

It became very evident that , “ nursing was where my heart was ,” Chandler says .
“ I saw the difference having an amazing nurse could make in a patient or family ’ s confidence in the care they were receiving , as well as their outlook on the situation ,” she says . “ I wanted to become a nurse so I could make a difference in patients and families lives in the same way some amazing nurses made a difference in my life .” A Delayed Dream Rekindled After high school , Chandler faced a number of challenges that caused her to put her nursing dreams on hold . She started a family and the thought of becoming a nurse was just a “ distant memory of a dream ” she ’ d once had , she says .
However , after the birth of her daughter Chandler unexpectedly found herself thrust back into a hospital environment .
“ What we thought was going to be a day or two stay to get things back to normal became a full month plus several other admissions to hospitals ,” Chandler shares .
But during their visits , Chandler once
again witnessed the impact of a nurse .
“ There were times when I didn ’ t know if I would bring my daughter home ever again ,” she says . “ Those nurses truly saved me from a very dark place during those times .”
“ The care , compassion , and support they provided to meet not only my daughter ’ s needs , but all of our emotional needs reminded me why I wanted to become a nurse in the first place ,” she says .
Then one night while Chandler and her husband were sitting in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit , she admitted out loud this dream , which had been rekindled .
“ My husband went out to get dinner and when he came back , he handed me a TEAS study guide ,” Chandler shares . “ I knew it would be a while before I could make this dream a reality , but I knew then that somehow I would make it happen .” Becoming a Nurse Life settled down for Chandler and her desire to become a nurse had only grown . She decided it was the right time to pursue this dream , so she applied to Oconee Fall Line Technical College ( OFTC ) and was accepted to the Practical Nursing program last fall .
Balancing school and the responsibilities that come with three children hasn ’ t been easy , but Chandler is determined to make it work .
“ I ’ ve found that properly planning has really helped ,” she says . “ Just looking ahead to see what we have going on the next week in class and planning for it has helped me find balance . I ’ m not going to say it ’ s not a lot of late nights and early mornings , but it ’ s doable if you really try .”
Chandler completed OFTC ’ s Practical Nursing program in August and wholeheartedly believes she ’ s been called to help patients both physically and emotionally .
“ My favorite part about nursing is being with the patient ,” she says , “ helping them get better physically but also providing a sense of care that helps the patient emotionally . I enjoy being able to treat the patient as a whole — providing good medical care but also emotional comfort .”
Confident she ’ s being trained with the knowledge and skills to help her succeed , Chandler appreciates the attention she and her classmates receive from their instructors .
“ I love the fact that I feel like I am being challenged and learning more every day ,” she said . “ The instructors expect you to be the best you can be , and they will help you get there . I find that you ’ re always being given constructive criticism to help you know what you can do better to be the best nurse you can be .” Worth the Journey Even though it didn ’ t happen like she
thought it would , Chandler ’ s journey to becoming a nurse has been worth it , she says .
“ I was nervous when I returned to school after years of being a stay-athome parent , but every faculty member I ’ ve come in contact with has been willing to help me in any way they can to help me succeed ,” Chandler shares . “ Everyone has been ready to help me get where I want to be in life .”
Chandler will graduate in May and then be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination – PN to become a Licensed Practical Nurse . After she works in-field for one year she plans to return to OFTC as a student in the associate degree in Nursing Bridge Program to become a licensed registered nurse .
“ I would just have to tell someone who might be thinking about starting college to ‘ go for it ,’ she says . It ’ s never too late . I would much rather spend the rest of my life doing something I love than to be stuck in a position that is not ideal for me .”
“ It might not be the easiest thing in the world to do , especially if you have children or are working full-time , but it will definitely be worth it in the end ,” she adds .
To learn more about OFTC ’ s nursing programs or the 140 + programs of study available , visit the college ’ s website , OFTC . edu .