Haverhill Mother of Six Wants to be a Nurse
NECC Practical Nursing student Tiffany Bell has a motto: when you make yourself better, you’re making your whole family better. It’s something this Haverhill mom of six children, ages 5 to 23, thinks about daily, as she balances her full-time classes, her kids’ hybrid school schedules and running a household. “I told them, this will be craziest 10 months of my life but at the end of it I will be a nurse’.”
Bell knows a lot about perseverance. Despite having her first son when she was 17, she graduated high school with honors. She worked odd jobs while getting her nursing assistant certification. A few years later, while working fulltime as a CNA and caring for her young son, Bell went back to school, and became a medical assistant at a busy pediatric office.
Life was moving right along- she had a job she loved, she got married and had two more children – until an autoimmune disease stopped her in her tracks. “There was so much I wanted to do, but I couldn’t do it all,” she says. While Bell took time off to focus on her health, she started to entertain the idea of getting a nursing degree. About 10 years ago she enrolled in NECC and started chipping away at her prerequisites. But health challenges arose again and she realized something had to give. “You can go back to school at any age, I only had so long to have kids.”
Three more kids and a few years later, Bell was ready to finish what she started, more determined than ever. “My youngest was in pre-k and I just wanted more for myself. I felt lost,” she recalls. She re-enrolled in NECC and started chipping again. And despite a few set-backs and a global pandemic, this Dean’s List student is on track to become a nurse this year.
Bell’s timing is perfect. Demand for healthcare workers is at an all time high. NECC offers 22 associate degrees and certificates in the health field. Most classes are currently offered online or in a hybrid format. Graduates may choose to enter the workforce and/or transfer to a four year school.
When she graduates in August, it will be a full-circle moment for Tiffany Bell. She vividly remembers the pride she felt watching her own mother earn her nursing degree from Bunker Hill Community College when she was a teenager. As for what’s next for Bell, it may come as no surprise that she wants to keep pushing herself, possibly working in pediatrics or dermatology, while earning her Associate Degree in Nursing. And for anyone who feels overwhelmed about the thought of taking on something new, especially mothers, she offers this advice: “Have a short term goal. Take a few classes, take them online when it’s convenient for you…you’re worth it. Invest in yourself.”
To learn more about Northern Essex programs, contact Enrollment Services, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was written by Melissa Bouse.