WCU-Miami BSN Alumna Makes Her Childhood Goal Come True

From a young age, Shanel D. wanted to be a nurse.

“It’s silly, but I used to play hospital with my cousins and my brothers, and I was always the nurse,” she said. “So, I knew from 8 years old, that’s what I wanted to be.”

As she got older, Shanel said life happened and nursing started to feel more and more out of reach.

“I always had an excuse not to get into it,” she said.

Still eager to help people, Shanel ended up going to school for a psychology degree. At age 25, she became a 911 dispatcher and although she loved her job, Shanel knew she wanted to do more.

“I started praying, I said, ‘Lord what do you want me to do?’ ‘How can I serve You in a way that will be fulfilling?’ And I just knew right there, I had to get into nursing. It just clicked like that to be honest,” she said. “I was on my way to work, and I saw on the bus: West Coast University.”

Shanel set up an appointment in admissions at the WCU-Miami campus that day. However, she said, doubts started to creep back in.

“There was always something that says, ‘This is a lot, can you really do this? Can you have a full-time job, raise your son and keep a happy marriage and go to school?’” she said.

She started to back out of the application process, Shanel said, but her admissions advisor didn’t give up on her. He recommended she tour the campus, check out the class schedules, and then deciding if it would work for her.

“I said, ‘You know what, this is a time I really need to do something for me,’ because I always did something for the family, for the kids” she said. “I always put myself last and I said ‘OK, I’m going to do this for me.’ I had to be selfish for once.”

Shanel said it ended up being the best possible fit for her. She was able to earn her CNA license through WCU, allowing her to work part-time in healthcare, full-time as a dispatcher, and be a full-time student.

“I have been told before when I was trying to get into nursing, you can’t work,” she said. “So, if you join into core, you have to quit your job. I knew I couldn’t do that, so I’m so happy I prayed about it, and I saw that bus.”

Shanel graduated in June 2021. When it came time to find a job, she knew she wanted to be in the intensive care unit. At first, she was feeling a little discouraged looking for ICU jobs, until she turned to Career Services. It was there that an advisor told her about an opening at a local hospital. Now, she works as a trauma ICU nurse.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.