by Sheryl Marlar

After high school, Tammy White didn’t go to college. Instead, she married her high-school sweetheart, had three children and lived happily ever after.

Tammy White, center, surrounded by her classmates
Tammy White, center, surrounded by her classmates

Well, almost.

When her children were older, White decided she needed to go to work.

“I was an expert homemaker,” White said. “However, I realized that I needed a college education to have a professional career.”

To be practical, White chose to pursue nursing at the University of West Georgia’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing – because nursing is in high demand and it’s recession-proof. And she already knew she liked caring for patients.

“I knew if I was going to college, it would be for nursing,” White explained. “I like all aspects of it. I love interacting with the patients, and I love anatomy and the science of healing the body.”

As a non-traditional student, White wasn’t sure what to expect from classmates when she came to UWG.

“This is my first college experience,” White said. “I did not pursue higher education after high school because I was lucky enough to stay home with my children, but enrolling at UWG has been a wonderful experience. The admissions staff is so supportive of non-traditional students and made my transition into school stress-free.”

According to the BSN nursing handbook, cohorts are divided into caring groups of about eight students. In these groups, students are in the same clinical settings and are required to do class projects and assignments together.

The purpose of a caring group is to identify caring and non-caring behaviors, learn to cope with stress, and develop team problem-solving skills, thus creating a caring atmosphere among the students.

“My first caring group included seven incredible and caring women with three non-traditional students, including me,” White said. “The students are not competitive but instead supportive of each other. Right from the start, I experienced only kindness and equality, as well as friendships not affected by our differences.”

Although her second caring group is smaller with only five students, White has once again found a caring and accepting connection.

“I have gained a different perspective working with these men and women, and I have learned from them,” White said. “I am amazed at how nurturing they are. They are incredible nursing students, and I am constantly impressed with the compassion they demonstrate in clinicals with patients.”

White has also met some of the most caring and supportive professors in her nursing school journey.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to become a nurse,” White said. “I have had some outstanding professors whose teaching styles meshed with my learning style, and the support staff is caring and available when I need them.”

White feels that UWG is a wonderful choice for students, especially those who are non-traditional.

“It has been a life-changing and life-improving experience for me,” White said. “One of the greatest assets UWG has is its students. Even though I am non-traditional, I have been accepted into the student body.”

White will graduate in May 2019 and hopes to work in a hospital setting.

“I have learned so much from my caring groups,” White said. “I would recommend UWG to anyone. It is a university that exemplifies true southern hospitality. I know I have made lifelong friends.”

White also credits her family for their support of her decision to go to college.

“My husband, Greg, and my children, Jake, Tanner and Maya, have graciously taken over duties I can’t manage because of the demands of nursing school,” White concluded. “I’ve had to sacrifice family time for my studying, but my family and I think that nursing is a worthwhile goal worth striving for.”

Posted on April 17, 2018