(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Shannon Powell is now working in a field she fell in love with at the age of 19.

Powell, who received an associate degree in Nursing at Texas State Technical College in 2020, passed the National Council Licensure Examination earlier this year. Today, she is a registered nurse in the medical-surgical department at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater.

Her interest in health care started in that department, even though the medical field was not her first career choice.

“I had a job at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital as a ward clerk. I really wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I watched the nurses working with the patients, and that lit something inside of me.”

Powell decided to enroll in TSTC’s Nursing program and graduated from the Vocational Nursing program. During her time at TSTC, she said the hospital’s staff was always supportive.

“I received a scholarship from the hospital. Rolling Plains really supported me,” she said. “Anytime I needed to take off for school, they would let me. The staff wanted me to succeed.”

Powell’s dream of becoming a registered nurse was put on hold while her family took precedence.

“I wanted to focus on my husband Britt’s career and our children,” she said. “Once the kids were older, Britt pushed me to focus on me. He told me I should go back to school. I told him, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Powell knew her first choice would be TSTC because of her experiences while studying to become an LVN. She knew things would be different, especially when COVID-19 forced more of her courses online.

“I knew there would be a lot less of the in-person classes. I had to adapt to that,” she said. “The instructors told us from the beginning that this was not going to be easy. They gave us all of the tools in order for us to succeed.”

Nursing instructor Lisa Van Cleave said Powell was an excellent student and will be a nurse people can depend on.

She demonstrates the highest level of professionalism, compassion and care with everyone,” she said. “Shannon seeks to deliver excellent care and promote the nursing profession.”

With a degree in hand and officially being a registered nurse, Powell, a lifelong resident of Sweetwater, is glad to be working in her hometown where her medical career began.

“It is just amazing that I was able to go to school and work in my hometown,” she said.

Van Cleave said the Sweetwater community should be proud of Powell’s accomplishments.

“(Her) patients and peers are very fortunate to have her as a nurse and a teammate,” she said.

For more information on TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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