by Jennifer Rose Bryant
From a young age, Ashlee Greene-Nichols (2016 RCC grad) says she was determined to do something important in her life. Seeing her parents struggle, and helping them raise her siblings, Ashlee’s instinct to give back began with her dream of becoming a criminal prosecution lawyer.
A self-described nerd in high school who loved reading, Ashlee says she always felt more like a young adult. Her parents taught her, through example, to put family first, making real sacrifices so that she could play softball.
Ashlee became a single mother at 16, and she received great support from her parents as they helped her raise her son. Under the circumstances, Ashlee could’ve easily altered her academic and career goals, but she stayed the course, setting her sights high and, “always keeping God at the helm of the ship,” she says. It wasn’t easy working two part-time jobs while attending her junior and senior years of high school, but she did it.
After high school, Ashlee enrolled at Rappahannock Community College. Her schedule allowed her to spend time with her son and husband, as well as stay near her parents and younger siblings.
A Nursing Career Filled With Compassion
As dreams often do, Ashlee’s had morphed from lawyer to nurse. She discovered the importance of genuine compassion in nursing and longed to truly make a difference.
Anxious and lacking confidence, Ashlee’s stress about taking the entrance exam was eased by RCC’s nursing program advisers. Although much time and effort were put in, the demands of life and family-first priorities rendered Ashlee unable to pass her last semester of nursing school. Ashlee says, “God timing is perfect timing,” and she re-entered the program nine months later. Dean Charles Smith and nursing program head Ellen Koehler never gave up on her.
Feeling supported at RCC was an important part of Ashlee’s experience. From clinical experience to one-on-one support from Sara Headley, Carrie Lewis, Cheryl Riley, Leslie Lantz and Rebecca White helped her flourish and see a clear future in the field she loves.
Never Stop Learning. Never Stop Believing.
Ashlee knows that RCC is what laid the foundation for her life-long learning experience. She graduated with a BSN from Liberty University and just began work as an adjunct professor position for the LPN program at RCC. She starts her MSN-MBA August 2019 at Liberty with a completion date of 2021. She intends to return to Rappahannock as full-time faculty in the future. Ashlee plans to continue her education post MSN-MBA, and complete her doctorate of nursing (DNP) from Oklahoma University.
Today, you can find Ashlee at one of her three jobs: nurse at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, school nurse in Gloucester, and at RCC teaching students to follow in her footsteps.
Ashlee Greene-Nichols is living her dream of giving back with compassion.