Being a teenage mom was tough. But it merely laid the groundwork for some of the biggest challenges thrown in the path of Jasmine Thibou, MSN, RN, an alumna of Chamberlain University.
“It didn’t really hit me until I gave birth,” Jasmine said, adding that her 12th-grade year was busy going to school, working and child rearing. “I realized – now someone is going to look up to me and I am responsible for another human being who I always have to protect. I have to model correct behavior. It made me shift my thinking from what can somebody do for me to what can I do for somebody. It motivated me to be independent and successful. I wanted to be my version of what’s good for me.”
Beating the Odds
So the Miami girl set out to prove that she could still catapult into success despite the odds against her. And she came out strong… continuing to hit milestones even if they were delayed. She started off by impressing her dad – she was the first – and only – of her four siblings to graduate college. Then she went on to earn her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from Chamberlain – “it wasn’t easy but it was very accommodating. I could still work, come home, take care of my kids and then log in to do my work online. It was great.”
Nursing or Bust
Not knowing which career route to choose, Jasmine finally relented and talked with the mom of a friend who had been a nurse for the better of four decades. “He kept bugging me to come talk to his mom and said I would love it,” she laughed. “And then once I did, I fell in love. I went full force from there on out.”
The minute she entered the healthcare world – working first as a step-down nurse on the floor where patients arrive after the intensive care unit – she knew she had chosen the right path. “I just loved being a nurse. I am the type of nurse who wants to take more time with my patients – I want to sit and talk and educate and learn all about them. They just want someone human to talk with and I want to take care of them.”
Family Life with Four Daughters
Besides patients, Jasmine also cares for her female clan at home – four daughters, ages 9, 13, 16 and 19. “My youngest wants to be a nurse because she loves the interaction, and my oldest is in college,” she said proudly. “I am now the role model I didn’t have – the foundation for my daughters.”
And Jasmine’s level of care doesn’t end there. She also Steps Forward in her community, playing an active and integral role in a local nonprofit serving to break the stigma on mental health. “People need to understand how mental health issues can affect your physical health and how to cope.” She and her colleagues at the nonprofit raffle off free therapy services, partner with local politicians and try to involve the community whenever possible.
“This is important to me because in the African-American community, everyone has stressors and may cope differently. People don’t want to hear that they may be depressed because that could scare them or make them worry that they will be labeled. As a community, we have to be more aware and get the law enforcement officials involved too so they are better equipped to handle someone who may be dealing with mental-health issues.”
Jasmine recalled a challenging and painful time during college when she thankfully had friends and family to support her. “I could have gone down the wrong path,” she said, giving an example that something as simple as not being able to get her hair done – a testament to her womanhood – could wreak havoc on her confidence and wellbeing. “There are so many components. It’s a topic that is really brushed under the rug and needs to come to the forefront.”
Hitting the Bookshelves
Making sure the values and rewards of nursing are brought to the forefront is Jasmine, a novice author, whose book will soon debut on Amazon. Jasmine penned Becoming a Nurse: My Journey to a Degree in Nursing and dedicated it to her past, current and future patients. The book is written for those beginning their nursing education and for those pursing higher degrees. It details her personal journey, provides tips of the trade and even contains a study guide in the back.
“Nursing is a really challenging but rewarding career. If you’re doing for the right reasons, you learn a lot. For me, it helped me become a better mother, a better listener and it taught me empathy. I smile more because seeing my patients happy makes me happy. Being a nurse helped me grow and changed every aspect of my life. It made me a better human being and put my whole life into perspective.”
Visit Chamberlain University for more information on its MSN-degree program.
By Heather L Hurtado
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