Featured photo: 2022 Associate Degree Nursing graduate Makenna Man poses in a hospital. (Photo by Rich Keen, Marketing and Communications Dept.)
The following story was featured in Blue Ridge Community College’s 2021-22 annual report. This report and others are available online on the About Blue Ridge webpage.
Since high school, Makenna Mann has been setting herself up for success. While attending Rosman High School, she got her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate and then went on to attend Appalachian State University to start a career in exercise science. However, after a year, she realized she didn’t love it. She missed her family and community, so Makenna decided to move closer to home and enroll in the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program at Blue Ridge Community College.
“I’m used to taking care of people and worked in a nursing home during high school,” she said. “I knew it was an area I wanted to pursue.”
The purpose of the ADN program is to provide high quality education to individuals in the community who are interested in a career as a registered nurse (RN). After program completion, graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become an RN.
When Makenna started her studies at Blue Ridge, she was also working to support herself. At first, it was doable, but as the coursework became more challenging, so did her schedule.
“Blue Ridge worked with me financially, and I was awarded two years of scholarship support from the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program,” she said. “That allowed me to solely focus on my studies.”
Makenna started the ADN program in 2019 and graduated in May 2022. One of the main reasons she chose the program, aside from being close to home, was how quickly she could complete it.
“I have to support myself, and this program was perfect for me,” she said. “It was super affordable and readied me to get to work as soon as possible.”
The nursing field has an array of employment opportunities within the global healthcare system, but Makenna chose to work close to home. Blue Ridge partners with local healthcare facilities for its nursing and healthcare programs, including Advent Health, Mission Health and Pardee UNC Health Care. At Pardee, she currently practices critical care nursing and works in the ICU.
“I grew up in this community, and I’m familiar with many of the needs here,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to give back.”
With a shortage of nurses at the national, state and local levels, Makenna’s decision to consider nursing and begin working close to home is a win for the region.
She’s shared her experience at Blue Ridge with others because she feels it’s important that young people in the community know that if you have commitment, drive and motivation, anything is possible.
Makenna is also pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Western Carolina University to further her career opportunities down the road. Somehow, she balances working full-time night shifts at the hospital while taking online classes during the day.
“It’s all totally worth it,” she said. “I sleep in between.”
Read more stories like Mann’s in Blue Ridge Community College’s 2021-22 annual report. This report and others are available online on the About Blue Ridge webpage.