Through Perseverance and Hard Work, Dionne King, Rewrote her Story and Made her Dreams of Completing the ADN Nursing Program Happen
Please tell us about yourself.
I just turned 48 and I’m a mother of six. I’m also originally from the South Side of Chicago and a widow. I lost my husband during nursing school and that was the ultimate obstacle to overcome. He died on April 24th, 2021, just a few months before I was going to graduate. I persevered and graduated in August 2021.
I thought that if I was going to follow my lifelong dream to do nursing, I would do it when my youngest son was eighteen. My mom and my husband wanted me to stay home with our children. I loved being at home with them, but something in my conscience told me, “We’re going to need more money.”
Over the years, I would take my kids to the doctor for physicals and see the nurse walk in and think, “That could be me. That should be me.”
Sometimes you hear the question, “What happens to a dream deferred?” I know from experience that dream haunts you. I even had a new life set up for me and my children at one point so I could pursue nursing. But then I put my dreams on hold for twenty years. The great thing is that you can always rewrite your story. You can erase, backspace, and delete. I am rewriting my story as we speak!
When did you first know you wanted to be a nurse?
I knew I wanted to be a nurse was when I was five years old. I saw my Aunt Francis in 1979 at my grandmother’s house and her image affected me. She came in wearing her white nurse’s cap, cape, dress, stockings, and shoes. My God, from my five-year-old eyes and perception, she looked like a beautiful superhero standing on a mountain! I asked, “What does she do?” I was told, “Your auntie is one of the first Black nurses at Providence Hospital.” I thought, “Whatever she is doing, I want to do it.” The more I found out about nursing as I grew up, the more I wanted it even more. That’s why I dedicated my degree to my aunt. I am a nurse today because of my Aunt Francis.
What motivated you to choose Carrington?
I’m a believer in going after what you want even if you only have $100 in your pocket. The universe will help set things up for you. Within a couple of months, after staying with friends and family, I found a place less than a mile away from Carrington. I came to Arizona without a car, so it was great to be close to school. That was a big selling point. There also was no waitlist, so I was able to go right in. The school does what it says it will do and the teachers are awesome.
What was your favorite part of your program?
My classmates. To this day they have become some of the best allies and friends I have ever had. Coming from the South Side of Chicago, you are pretty much segregated, because everybody sticks with themselves. You don’t get a lot of exposure to diversity even though Chicago is a very diverse place. It is also one of the most segregated places in America. Now, to count these beautiful Caucasian women as my friends–and they have been there for me with stuff that didn’t even involve school–that is the bomb. That was the best thing Carrington gave me–my classmates. They will forever be my friends.
What was the most challenging part of your program?
Nursing school is hard but getting through it is up to you. I think the most challenging things are the life things that happen outside of school. You know school is going to be hard. You know the tests are going to be hard. It’s the life things that will take you under if you let them. Now I understand why the admissions people ask you if you have a support system. That is important and now I know.
What got you through the challenging times?
My faith. When you are doing something that you are destined to do, even though you might face challenges, your faith and strength will get you through. You must decide, I am not giving up. These will not be classmates who I never see again because I left school. I am going to finish, and I am going to know these people.
Is there a Carrington instructor or staff member who you would like to acknowledge?
Professor Julisha Meredith, our clinical instructor. I nominated her to pin me during graduation. She hurt her leg and she still came, and I was so grateful! She was like sunshine. During my clinical with her, I was able to block everything out and stay focused because of her good energy. I had peace because of her. You could ask her anything and she would help. She was the bomb.
What are you currently doing for work?
I was hired for correctional nursing at Florence Men’s prison, but I need to have surgery before I start. I also signed on with a nurse staffing agency. I am looking forward to doing both jobs so I can make some good money and by the time I turn fifty, I will be well set.
How did Carrington prepare you for your career?
We were part of the Covid class, so Carrington could have shut us down and stopped classes. Instead, they did everything they could to keep us learning. It was hard, but I pushed through, graduated, and passed the NCLEX.
Do you have any advice for people interested in going into your field?
Once you make the decision to be a nurse and go into nursing school, never give up. No matter what happens, stay in school. Life is always happening. Things are always going to come up, but you just have to be determined that you are going to get through school. You must be relentless because you’re going to face villains that take all forms along the way, and you need to be the hero.