Northeast Louisiana Professional Healthcare Opportunities—Careers and Support Project
Encouragement from the frontline.
Naomi found herself pregnant during her senior year of high school. Despite her pregnancy, she graduated at the top of her class, with a 3.7 GPA. Naomi started researching her options and went to an information session for certified nursing assistant (CNA) training at Louisiana Delta Community College. She knew she would need financial assistance, and at the session learned of the Northeast Louisiana Professional Healthcare Opportunities— Careers and Support Project (PHOCAS) program. Naomi applied and was selected for PHOCAS. She started CNA training at Louisiana Delta Community College in May 2016. "PHOCAS helped with everything; tuition, books, and even a gas card for me to travel back and forth. It was amazing and relieved so much stress."
After finishing her CNA class in July 2016, Naomi secured employment as a CNA at a local nursing home. That is when she realized nursing was her calling, because she likes to care for people and help them during their toughest times. Naomi discussed her new career goals with Alice Wilkie, her PHOCAS student liaison. Naomi states, "She was so amazing and motivating. She talked me through the process of taking the next steps." That September, Naomi gave birth to a baby boy, who is now three.
Naomi was accepted into Louisiana Tech University’s nursing school in September 2017 to pursue an Associate of Science in Nursing degree. Balancing a part-time job and raising a toddler while taking classes was a challenge, but her determination and support from PHOCAS kept her focused on school. Monthly check-ins with her student liaison, Mrs. Wilkie, along with financial assistance to help with tuition and textbook costs, childcare, and transportation reimbursement gave Naomi the opportunity to further her healthcare career.
In December 2018, Naomi failed a course, which delayed her graduation by one full year. She was devastated and wanted to take a break from school. Instead, Mrs. Wilkie helped Naomi develop a plan to tackle the next school year. The additional assurance and encouragement from the PHOCAS team pushed Naomi to keep her head up and finish.
In March 2020, Naomi graduated from Louisiana Tech Nursing School at the age of 21. Naomi is now helping others as a registered nurse, fearlessly working in an ICU COVID-19 unit.
"I absolutely enjoy what I do and enjoy caring for people. I am enrolling in a BSN program Summer of 2020 at University of Lafayette. My long-term goal is to eventually become a certified nurse anesthetist. I am so grateful for the PHOCAS program and do not think I could have made it this far without it.”
“I am so grateful for the PHOCAS program and do not think I could have made it this far without it.”
This success story was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.