Nursing runs in Laura Price’s DNA.
“My mother is a nurse, my daughters, Betti and Hannah, are nurses, and my grandmother was a nurse,” Price says, noting that she is enrolled in the same program that Hannah completed at Laurel Ridge Community College’s Fauquier Campus. “I would like to eventually earn a bachelor of nursing degree. I will be able to do more with that. I didn’t underestimate a nurse’s value, but I did underestimate their knowledge base in a large way. It can be very challenging when you’re talking about the human body.”
Originally from Chantilly, Price spent 18 years as a stay-at-home mom to nine children, seldom working outside of the home.
“Five of my children are adults, and my youngest child just started kindergarten, which is why I can now go to school. When the children are not at home, that’s when I am most productive,” she says.
Of the program, she says students participate in clinicals at local hospitals, nursing homes, and other specialized facilities. Before those began, she utilized that time to pour over her textbooks, sometimes waking as early as 4 o’clock in the morning to study before getting her children ready for the day.
“When I was 5 and it was career day, I wore my mom’s nursing uniform to school,” Price says. “I lost sight of that dream for a while, but losing my grandmother when I was 28-years-old made me realize this was my calling. I was accepted into a university nursing program, but life intervened.”
After enrolling at Laurel Ridge, she received financial support, including the Virginia Commonwealth Award, a Pell grant, and G3 tuition assistance.
Price is currently taking Microbiology with Dr. Brian Wilcox.
“He makes me laugh so much,” she says. “But he makes the material he’s teaching very approachable. I think he does a very good job of not making it overwhelming.”
She also speaks highly of professors Kathryn Regula and Elizabeth Marshall.
While taking Nursing 170-Health/Illness Concepts, Price says learning about the disease process felt very content heavy, but she praises Professor Regula’s clear and concise approach.
“She’s very professional and has high standards, but she was such a good teacher,” says Price. “She’s so approachable, so positive, and so good at educating.”
One aspect of the nursing program that Price did not expect was understanding ethnic and cultural diversities in healthcare.
“Professor Marshall’s class, Nursing 152-Health Care Participant, included learning about different cultures and religions and spirituality and how to approach them in the medical field,” she says. “There is no right or wrong, no concrete approach. It’s important to understand these so that you are informed. She’s been teaching for a long time and has a lot of compassion.”
Speaking of her early days as a non-traditional student, Price praises Laurel Ridge’s advisors who helped her with every necessary step to continue her education, though she says she felt abundant trepidation.
“I graduated high school in 1992, and I was incredibly nervous about going back to college,” she says. “I felt awkward for the first two months. But I credit my ability to navigate that first semester to my professors and classmates because they were accepting and positive and it seems that everyone there really wants to see you succeed.”
Among her classmates were certified paramedics who were also on their way to earning nursing degrees, and younger adults who were supportive and dedicated students.
“Had I not been met with that, I don’t know that I would have been able to navigate some of the tougher moments,” she adds. “I would recommend Laurel Ridge 100 percent to anyone continuing their education. Affordable tuition, supportive staff, supportive educators, and supportive classmates. I am very grateful to Laurel Ridge.”
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.