Jacqueline Sledge-Prince, a nursing student on the Rankin Campus, has worked in the healthcare field for over 20 years as a certified occupational therapy assistant. However, she had always felt that her career path entailed something a bit deeper.
“I was able to provide home health services to my patients, but I also wanted to go beyond my scope of work,” Sledge-Prince said.
In addition to a lingering sense of unfulfillment, Sledge-Prince’s patients often referenced her as being their nurse long before she decided to pursue a degree in the field. Then, one day, as she was leaving a patient’s home, Sledge-Prince said she received a “cold call” from a Hinds Community College recruiter.
“It was pretty much serendipitous,” she said. “My first thoughts were that I was too old to go back to school and that I probably would not be accepted to the program, but I knew I wanted to be of better service to my patients. So, I filled out the application, sent in my transcripts and now I’m here!”
During her first semester at Hinds, Sledge-Prince worked a handful of jobs to pay her tuition, mortgage and other living expenses. Still, she was determined to stay the course. So, after being awarded a Workforce Scholarship, she quit her full-time job and reduced her work week to under 16 hours, which enabled her to focus on her studies.
Since enrolling at the college, she has been actively involved in student organizations such as the Student Nursing Association, where she serves as vice president for the Rankin Campus.
She said her favorite aspects of Hinds are the curriculum and her instructors. “I have attended big universities and other community colleges, but Hinds is the one that stands out,” she added. “They really take a hands-on approach to teaching.”
After completing her degree at Hinds, Sledge-Prince plans to further her studies in nursing to become a nurse practitioner.
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