May 31, 2023
Jenna’s journey to becoming a licensed vocational nurse was not easy. Healthcare wasn’t always her calling, but she did know that she needed to provide for her family — no matter what.
After her parents' divorce, 7-year-old Jenna went to live with her mother and grandparents. Once she turned 16, she started working — usually two or three jobs at a time — to help support her family, which meant putting her high school education on hold.
“Being raised by my grandmother, it was more of like you put family first no matter what,” Jenna shared. “It was my duty to take care of my grandparents and help with my mom. Things with school just didn’t work out.”
After years of making ends meet by working odd jobs, Jenna decided to obtain her GED, which helped her land a position in corporate health insurance. She stayed with the company for nine years until learning about American Career College from mutual friends of her significant other at the time, a West Coast University nursing alum.
“One of his coworkers said to me, ‘Why don’t you do nursing? You’d be great at it,’” she said. “Working the health insurance job, I worked alongside nurses and doctors so, I thought, ‘What’s holding me back?’”
Jenna was already juggling being a new mother and working full-time when she decided to enroll in ACC-Los Angeles. Then, the pandemic hit, turning the world upside down. But through virtual learning, daycare arrangements, and nonstop studying, Jenna never quit.
“My kids and teachers kept me motivated,” she shared. “I wanted to do it for them. I knew this was for something greater. It was going to help me get to where I want to be, it was going to provide for my kids, it was going to give us a better life.”
In March 2023, Jenna completed her vocational nursing program and passed the NCLEX exam soon after. With the help of her instructor Ms. Ina and Career Services, she landed a position at a care center in Torrance.
“Every day my daughter tells me, ‘Mommy I’m so proud,’” she said. “I have challenged myself and I am capable of a lot more than I ever thought I could be. And now I get to make a difference. I get to do something meaningful.”
And her journey is not over yet, Jenna added. She plans to pursue an associate degree in nursing, and eventually, a master’s to become a nurse practitioner.
“I’m going to push myself and keep going,” Jenna said. “I want to show my kids that whatever challenges you have, you can push through it.”
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