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HCC alumna Danielle Thomas (A.S.-Nursing, ‘12) has been in healthcare for the last 20 years as a Certified Medical Assistant in OB/GYN and infertility at Johns Hopkins Greenspring Station Outpatient Clinic and Shady Grove Fertility Center at GBMC. Her dream was to become a nurse, and she enrolled at Harford Community College because she worked full-time and the evening weekend program fit into her busy schedule.
During her final semester in Medical-Surgical Nursing II, Danielle not only lost her cousin to breast cancer, but learned that she, too, had the disease. While fighting stage II cancer, she completed the nursing program. Danielle said she received a lot of support from family, friends, and a nurse supervisor, who helped her along the way.
“Prior to graduating, she asked me to be her mentor, which was a real honor,” said Nursing faculty Daryl Lazaro Hawkins, MSN, RN. “She was determined to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) for the first time and wanted so badly to take it prior to starting her chemotherapy, despite my suggestion that she wait. But Danielle is such a determined, dedicated person and she truly wanted to achieve her dream of becoming an RN, so she took the NCLEX. Despite not passing the first time, she was undeterred. She finished up chemotherapy, and even during times that would make most of us falter, she stayed upbeat and never forgot her goal of becoming an RN.”
Daryl said that Danielle brought her NCLEX review books with her during chemo and studied during her rest periods, while continuing to work at the Hopkins Outpatient clinic. She decided to retake the examination before she underwent a double mastectomy. She took her boards the Friday before her surgery and passed.
“Danielle achieved her goal, and I am so amazingly proud of her and her accomplishments. Truly, she reminds me that true success and achievement isn’t about a grade or a license, but instead, how you handle things when life doesn’t go as planned,” stated Daryl.
“Graduation day was a bitter sweet day for me, but no one would have ever known by the radiating glow and smiles I had that day,” Danielle stated. Her teachers said no one at the pinning ceremony would have believed what she was facing. ”I achieved my lifelong goal and dream for myself and my father, Warren Thomas. My father, who never gave up on my dream, motivated me and inspired me to go back to school. That day was for my father and me. My diagnosis of breast cancer was not going to steal my joy and take over my life because that is not where my story ends.”
Danielle said, “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Daryl stated to me, ‘Danielle, don’t worry about the nursing jobs. Your health is more important and the nursing job that you are meant to have will be there when treatment is completed.’ Daryl was absolutely correct. OB/GYN has always been my love.” Danielle recently accepted an RN position in Labor and Delivery at Mercy Medical Center.
“I am glad I chose Harford – I enjoyed the nursing program, and I love the close relationships that were made. Daryl Lazaro and Renee Franquiz are among the best and the brightest instructors. They have such a wealth of knowledge and displayed compassion in their teaching.” She credits her good student teacher relationship with Daryl and Renee with helping her to get through such a rigorous program.
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