A soon-to-be graduate of Lorain County Community College (LCCC), Heather Marie Horn reflects on the challenges she encountered on her long journey to become a nurse. She shares advice from Benjamin Franklin, who said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."
When I graduated high school in 1997, I debated between joining the Air Force and going to nursing school. My young, adventurous spirit said, “take the experience the Air Force is offering you.” The jaded opinion of my ex-Navy father steered me toward nursing school. I graduated with honors and scholarships and was accepted into a 2-year program at our local hospital with the goal of obtaining my nursing diploma. I was about to become one of the few people in my family to continue my education beyond high school and I was full of pride.
I have always had a passion to care for others, to be part of making a positive imprint on another life, and to provide education that is meaningful and enlightening. I found all of that and more in nursing.
I attempted to continue my education while working through some personal issues and my grades suffered as result. It was at that time that I made the decision to pull back, refocus and come back when I had things in a better focus. What I did not anticipate was for that focus to take 20 years to manifest itself.
In June of 2017, after four daughters, a 15-year long career in management, and several courses at a local technical college to support that career choice, I found myself sitting at an Allied Health and Wellness advisor’s desk at LCCC. I had tried for 20 years to invest in myself and expand my knowledge in other areas, but I was left unfulfilled. This was the time and the place to pursue my dream. I was going to become an RN.
Some of the courses from my previous college education were transferable, but I had some work to do before applying to the RN program. In September of that year, I was in A&P II and an accelerated math course trying to complete my pre-requisites as quickly as possible. It was then, that I was dealt a personal tragedy that was just unfathomable. My second eldest daughter had been fatally injured in a car accident in Florida. I crumbled. It was midterms for A&P II and finals in my math course as we were moving to statistics in the second half of the semester. I was broken and lost. Focus? That was gone!
Over the next week, I was able to pull my focus back together enough to get back into my studies. I dropped the math course but kept going in A&P II. Somehow I passed the course with a B. I think I had help and guidance from someone special!
Fast forward to today. I am three weeks from graduation and realizing a dream I have put off for 20 years. I feel fulfilled. Even as a nursing student, I am actively advocating for patients, educating them about their health so they have better health outcomes, and learning along the way. I am so thankful for the road that brought me here despite the detours, and I cannot wait to serve my community full time in my new role.