Mother Molly was the nickname Molly Ferrell earned as a young child because of her passion for taking care of people.
Today, the 25-year-old graduate from Kankakee Community College (KCC) is professionally living up to her nickname. Ferrell recently started working as a Registered Nurse (RN) at Presence St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee.
“In my heart I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse,” said Ferrell. “My mother is a RN. Growing up I got to see first-hand all the amazing opportunities that are in the field of nursing.”
Ferrell’s path to a career in nursing started with her taking her first Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course at KCC while she was a freshman.
“I wanted to be sure my heart was telling me the right thing that nursing was the right career for me,” said Ferrell. “The CNA course confirmed my decision; I wanted to be a nurse.”
The following semester Ferrell enrolled in KCC full-time to complete the nursing program prerequisites.
“I loved KCC from the start,” said Ferrell. “The professors were caring and supportive, and I felt right at home.”
Ferrell was moving along on the path to becoming a nurse. She loved the small school atmosphere and personal attention that KCC offered.
However, she hit a bump in the road.
The professors caution students in the nursing program to work minimal hours because of the rigorous demands of the curriculum. Ferrell realized that she was in over her head, and she had to drop out of the program shortly after beginning in 2010 for personal reasons.
“It was a difficult decision to leave the program (temporarily),” said Ferrell. “I knew my education was important, but life brought on personal struggles I needed to deal with and that needed my attention first.”
In the summer of 2012, Ferrell promised herself she would reapply to the nursing program and finish her college degree.
“Being away from school made me realize more than ever that I needed my education,” said Ferrell. My mother saw that I had the drive and determination to make my nursing dream come true. She was right.”
Ferrell reentered the Registered Nursing program in spring 2013.
Like many community college students that work to support their education, Ferrell’s plan was to reduce the number of hours she was working so school would remain the priority.
Thanks to scholarships from the KCC Foundation, she was able to cutback work and focus almost entirely on school.
“I felt like a huge load had been lifted off of my shoulders thanks to scholarships from generous donors,” said Ferrell. “These scholarships not only made an impact on me financially, but they impacted me on an emotional level.”
Ferrell recalls the feelings she had when she realized how much strangers believed in her and were willing to help her pursue her dreams.
“Complete strangers generously donate money so students like me can go to school,” said Ferrell. “It’s not a one time occurrence. People do it all the time. People’s kindness makes me tear up.”
Ferrell received several scholarships, including two memorial scholarships. One of the scholarships was the Cynthia Steury-Lattz Memorial Scholarship, named for a KCC professor of nursing.
“I was overwhelmed by all the memories that were shared with me about Professor Steury-Lattz,” said Ferrell. “While I pursued my education, I was inspired by all the memories and stories that were shared with me about her.”
Ferrell is so grateful for her support from the foundation that she intends on paying it forward.
“I would love to sponsor a scholarship one day for a student in need,” said Ferrell. “Without the support of strangers, who gave me everything to be financially stable, I don’t know where I would be without their kind hearts.”
Ferrell graduated from the nursing program in 2014. Even though she has only been a nurse for a short time, and she is living the dream. She credits KCC for making her dream a reality.
“KCC is a remarkable place, and I will be forever grateful the opportunities it gave me,” said Ferrell.
And, true to her “Mother Molly” fashion, her favorite part about being a nurse is taking care of people.
“Nursing is an important job, and I focus on getting to know the patient both medically and personally when they are in my care,” said Ferrell. “People have personalities, and I like getting to know who I am caring for.”