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Nursing Student Ready to Launch Her Career

Edgecombe Community College Associate Degree Nursing senior Kaila Boulden will begin her nursing career soon at Nash UNC Health Care.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift from nursing student to employed nurse. Kaila Boulden, a senior in the Associate Degree Nursing program at Edgecombe Community College, is anxious to make the switch.

Like other community colleges in North Carolina and per State directive, ECC began shifting face-to-face courses to online delivery mid-March. Several exceptions included programs in public safety and public health, which were permitted to continue to respond to the pandemic.

Nursing programs were among the exceptions. Boulden admits that the transition to distance learning was challenging. “COVID-19 has made life stressful in more than one way,” she explains. “Having to switch from face-to-face instruction to online has been tough. I’m thankful that I’m in my last semester, because I have a foundation of knowledge that made the shift easier.”

Boulden, a Nashville resident and graduate of Northern Nash High School, also has firsthand experience as a healthcare professional. She currently works as a nurse assistant II at Nash UNC Health Care.

To help ease the current nursing shortage that has been intensified by the pandemic, the North Carolina Board of Nursing reinstated the graduate nurse status, which will enable Boulden and her Class of 2020 classmates to work under the direction of licensed RNs until they can take the licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN.

Spring semester classes end on May 6, so Boulden will begin working as a nurse shortly thereafter. “Precepting was an amazing experience,” she says, “and I will be working as a nurse on the floor on which I did my preceptorship.”

Attending nursing school at ECC will provide an advantage, she adds. “I think flexibility and confidence in my knowledge and skill set will definitely help make this transition easier.”

She credits her ECC instructors with helping her become a skilled and confident nurse. “My instructors, of course, have helped me to grow into who I am today. Lisa Jenkins, a clinical instructor and employee on the third floor at Nash UNC, helped me to gain confidence in my skills in the clinical setting. Also, Jodi Sova, my preceptor on fifth floor at Nash UNC, helped me to see what being a nurse on this floor is like and made my preceptorship an amazing and exciting experience. I am thankful that she will be a mentor for me as I start my nursing career.”

Boulden will begin her nursing career on the Cardiac Pulmonary Support Unit at Nash UNC. She is excited to start on this floor and states that she “will get a good foundation working here.”