Chelsea Phillips overcomes adversity to realize her nursing diploma, makes use of single father or mother scholarship to assist with bills


Chelsea Phillips stands along with her sons Tyler, left, and JaKayden. Chelsea is Arkansas Single Dad or mum Scholarship Fund’s Scholar of The Month for June 2022. 

At her Could commencement ceremony, Chelsea Phillips acquired two surprises.

The primary was receiving the Florence Nightingale Award, which is South Arkansas Group School Betty Owen College of Sensible Nursing’s highest honor. It acknowledges a nursing scholar who goes above and past in this system to advocate for sufferers and interact totally with the training course of.

The second was when her 12-year-old son, Tyler, pulled her apart and mentioned he was happy with her. “It was so candy. I used to be in tears.” Chelsea mentioned. “I used to be like, ‘He’s been watching!’ As a result of at that age you simply don’t know.”

Chelsea has labored arduous to indicate her two sons, Tyler and four-year-old JaKayden, that they need to by no means quit on their goals. The 34-year-old knew she needed to turn into a nurse since she was in highschool, however a paycheck was extra necessary.

Since graduating highschool, Chelsea has labored at Walgreens as a pharmacy technician to supply for her household. Then, her husband was recognized with stage IV colon most cancers and died.

“That’s what actually pushed me to say, ‘It’s my time,’” Chelsea mentioned. “I watched the nurses handle him, and it simply actually spoke to me as a result of that is what I need to do.”

At her Could commencement ceremony, Chelsea Phillips acquired the Florence Nightingale Award. 

She began sluggish, taking prerequisite programs and saving cash for a couple of years. In 2020, She utilized and was accepted to a night nursing program. However working full time, going to high school, and taking good care of her children was an excessive amount of: She didn’t move the primary semester.

“It damage. It damage for some time,” she mentioned. “However I used to be like, ‘It’s not going to cease me as a result of I’m on the level the place it’s time for me to do what I would like, and that is what I actually need to do.’ 

Chelsea realized she needed to make sacrifices to make her dream of changing into a nurse come true. For six months Chelsea labored as arduous as she might to save cash. She took a depart of absence from Walgreens with no pay so she might attend SouthArk’s full-time, one-year nursing program.

Because of the varsity’s Profession Pathways Initiative, she discovered of the Arkansas Single Dad or mum Scholarship Fund. “It was positively a blessing as a result of not working for a whole 12 months, making that sacrifice, [was hard],” she mentioned. “The scholarship took lots of stress out, so I might nonetheless deal with my research and be OK.”

She used her scholarship examine to pay for commencement bills and family payments. Chelsea additionally mentioned she benefited from ASPSF’s workshops, particularly one specializing in psychological well being. “I discovered a lot as a result of like the trainer was saying, ‘When you don’t handle you, you may’t handle anybody else.’ That actually caught with me.”

Chelsea Phillips celebrates her diploma along with her sons Tyler and JaKayden.

For the rest of 2022, Chelsea will work — she returned to Walgreens the week after her SouthArk commencement — and take two courses so she will apply and enroll in a registered nursing program, which begins in January.

“My long-term objective is to be the place I’m wanted,” Chelsea mentioned. “With the sphere of nursing, you by no means cease studying and also you’re all the time wanted.”

The SouthArk one-year nursing program was intense, however value it, Chelsea mentioned. She’s used her new data and expertise to assist handle her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s illness.

Plus, as the primary in her household to go to varsity, she’s set an instance and proven that they’ll do it, too. Modeling his mom, JaKayden now likes to do homework, Chelsea mentioned. “After I choose him up from faculty, he’s like, “Mother, we started working on homework as we speak!” As an alternative of watching TV within the evenings, the toddler finds paper round their house so he can examine with Chelsea after dinner and tub time.

Chelsea mentioned that the recommendation she would give to different single mother and father who’re going to high school is to not quit and to make use of obtainable assets, just like the Arkansas Single Dad or mum Scholarship Fund.

“Lots of people could also be embarrassed or ashamed as a result of they don’t really feel like they need to ask for assist or really feel like they’ll’t do it — however don’t be!” she mentioned. “There may be this scholarship and different assets that may provide help to.”

Chelsea Phillips overcame many challenges to realize her academic objective of incomes a nursing diploma. 


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