On September 9, Tia Edgar joined her teammates on the 7th floor at New Hanover Regional Medical Center as a new grad RN. She’s hardly a new face on the Progressive Care Unit, however. Tia has been working on the unit since 2014, when she changed careers at age 38.
When visiting a family member in the hospital in 2013, she observed the caring attitude exhibited by the NHRMC team, and she started entertaining the idea of becoming a nurse.
“When I saw the teamwork and compassion they had, I started to wonder if I might fit in here,” said Tia, who was working from home as a medical transcriptionist at the time.
Tia dipped her toe in the water at first, just to see if hands-on patient care would suit her. She started as a Nurse Assistant 1.
“I loved it,” Tia said. “I loved the teamwork and learning new things – all of the complexities of each patient.”
Tia soon advanced to a Nurse Assistant II, which allowed her to perform more clinical tasks.
Noticing Tia’s aptitude and her passion for her work, coworkers soon began asking, “Why are you not in nursing school?”
She and her husband were raising two teenage sons, so Tia couldn’t immediately enroll full-time in nursing school. Over time, she completed her prerequisites at Cape Fear Community College, and in February of 2017, she was accepted into nursing school at Brunswick Community College.
“I wanted to grow,” Tia said. “As a nurse, I knew I would have more time to help my patients.”
The cost of nursing school was shaping up to be a financial challenge for Tia, whose oldest son was just a year away from entering college himself.
“If I didn’t have the money,” Tia said, “I was going to have to give up my place in nursing school.”
So when Tia learned of the Hendrix Family Scholarship, available through the NHRMC Foundation, she applied immediately. Dennis Hendrix, like Tia, had been impressed with the level of care and compassion provided by the NHRMC staff when he was suddenly hospitalized while vacationing in Wilmington. Tia’s revelation resulted in her joining the NHRMC team; Mr. Hendrix’s great care led his family to make a donation to help NHRMC staff members further their education.
To apply for the scholarship, Tia acquired recommendation letters from her teammates and managers on the 7th floor, and she received the $5,000 award for her first year of school.
“I cried, point blank -- like a baby,” Tia said. “I was just so thankful and appreciative. I also felt like my path had lined up. Everything fell into place. I told myself, ‘This is what you’re supposed to be doing.’”
After Tia completed her first year at BCC, the Hendrix family extended her scholarship for a second year. The family now provides four $5,000 scholarships each year.
“I am extremely grateful,” she said. “They took a chance on me -- somebody they didn’t know. I’m not a traditional student. I was a total stranger, but they helped better my life, my family’s life and helped better the lives of my patients.”
Now a Registered Nurse, Tia is poised to join her coworkers on the 7th floor – those who coached her along the way, those who encouraged her to apply to nursing school, and those who wrote letters of support to help her earn the Hendrix Scholarship.
“Watch out, world!” she said.
Interested in supporting nurses and the development of nursing staff at New Hanover Regional Medical Center? Then consider making a donation through NHRMC Foundation via the form below.
NHRMC Foundation Donation Form