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Graduate Feature: Josie Miller

When she’s not getting oriented in the emergency room at Sentara RMH Medical Center (SRMH), Blue Ridge Community College graduate, Josie Miller, spends her days enjoying life with her husband and two boys, tending to their 20,000-chicken farm. The Bridgewater native shares that the journey to her present life was not without obstacles.

Growing up as an Old Order Mennonite, teenage Josie wasn’t at all interested in the nursing profession. As the years went by, she found herself working as a live-in aide for an elderly patient, and when that patient moved into Bridgewater Retirement Community, her perspective changed.

As Josie settled into her role as a CNA, she planned to continue her studies to become a Registered Nurse (RN). She decided to enroll in the nursing program at BRCC because of the small community feel, adding how kind and helpful everyone was to her.

Despite the hurdles Josie faced, she was able to take final exams. She credits her professors with taking the time to answer her questions and making sure she knew that they wanted her to succeed.

“The nursing class instructors were fabulous about letting me make up for missed time and clinical,” said Josie. “I even missed my last semester midterm because I went into labor the night before, after studying for six hours in preparation for exams. They worked with me to set up a day two weeks later to go take my exams.”

Upon graduation, Josie accepted a position within the ER at SRMH, where she is currently completing orientation. After 18 weeks of orientation, she’ll be in the ER for at least another three months until she finds her niche and establishes a routine. Josie will also continue on to orient in the ICU before working in both units afterwards.

“It is hard to grasp the fact that I did it,” said Josie about completing the nursing program. “I absolutely love where I am now, working in the ER as a nurse. When I am not working, I get to spend time with my family instead of studying. I will forever be grateful to the nursing program staff for all the hours they put in to make my journey possible.”

Reflecting on that journey, Josie has some advice for anyone considering enrolling in the nursing program at BRCC –

“Before starting RN school, I had heard so many people say that nursing school is the hardest thing ever and that you can’t have a social life while in school. Honestly, yes it was difficult; I would get up at 4:30 a.m. just so I could study in peace, but I had a social life too. For the first two semesters, I was a single mom to a kindergartner. Then I got married, got pregnant, and had a baby, all while in nursing school. To all those out there wishing they could go back to school but being afraid to try, YOU CAN DO IT!”

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