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Samantha Wages, a nursing major from New Madrid, Mo., is fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a nurse by attending classes at the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center (SAHEC). She completed the LPN program with Sikeston Public Schools and recently passed her state board exams.
Wages, who is currently employed at Chateau Girardeau in Cape Girardeau as a nurse and cares for the residents living in the health center, first became interested in nursing when her father was hospitalized for a lengthy stay after an accident at work. The compassion and support the nurses showed her father helped the family pull through a very difficult time, she said.
“If it weren’t for those nurses, and the compassion they showed us, I don’t think I would have been able to even visit my dad,” she explained. “I realized then that nursing was a rewarding and selfless job, and it was something I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”
Wages prepared herself for nursing school by shadowing nurses at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau and at a local long-term care facility. She also took a three-hour CNA block during her senior year of high school.
“My mom initially felt nursing would be a career I couldn’t handle,” Wages said. “But once she realized how much I loved it, she gave me a lot of encouragement to pursue my dream.”
Wages says SAHEC helped prepare her for nursing school by providing her the opportunity to take courses she needed before applying to the nursing program. Wages says she realizes the dedication and perseverance it takes to overcome challenges and complete a college education.
“The classes a student is required to take for a nursing degree are intended to make you a well-rounded individual,” she said. “The challenge for me is to take all the courses that are not directly involved with nursing.”
Working at Chateau Girardeau has also helped Wages better prepare herself for a career in nursing. Her daily responsibilities include giving residents their medication, performing treatments when needed and ensuring all the residents receive the best quality of care available.
“Samantha is a bright, sweet and very caring individual who always has a smile on her face,” said Judy Buck, director of SAHEC. “She has worked and attended school for three years and has the determination to fulfill her career path, which will make Samantha an outstanding nurse.”
SAHEC provides students, like Samantha, the opportunity to go to college and fulfill lifelong dreams. She says SAHEC benefits the community by bringing more business to the Sikeston area and by allowing students living near Sikeston to pursue post-secondary education.
“SAHEC makes it easier for students with full- or part-time jobs to attend college,” Wages said. “The faculty and staff are great to work with and are always willing to help students receive their education.”