It takes a tremendous amount of skill, dedication, patience and caring to become a nurse. Whitney Fisher knows this all too well, even though she is only 18.
Fisher spent many years of her life watching her mother, Shawna Fisher, as she studied for her college degree first to receive her certification as an LPN, and then when she returned to school to receive her bachelor’s degree becoming a registered nurse.
This fall, Fisher hopes to follow her mother’s example as a nursing student.
Fisher is ahead of the timeline of many high school seniors though.
In August, when she begins her studies at Missouri Valley College in Marshall she will do so as a junior, transferring 42 college credits, which she earned during high school.
“When mom went to nursing school I went with her in some respects,” Fisher said. “I understand the tremendous amount of work it takes for the schooling that I will need to become a nurse because of my mom.
“I know school isn’t going to be easy because I saw firsthand the amount of work she put into her education,” Fisher added. “I also see the demands that mom has in her career and the commitment she has made to helping others.”
Fisher, a senior at Smithton High School, said she has been given a great deal of exposure to nursing through her mother and opportunities she has been given.
“I had the chance to job shadow my mom when I was a freshman in high school,” Fisher said. “I watched her in surgery and I was hooked but I have also worked in the office during the summer and breaks to understand that side of nursing too.
“I am passionate about nursing and I really see it as a way to help others,” Fisher added. “I know it isn’t for everyone but I am really looking forward to beginning the program so I can start my career.”
Fisher had to apply and complete the requirements for entrance, as any student who is accepted into the nursing program at Missouri Valley has to do.
Part of the admission process is a placement test and Fisher received an advanced score.
Fisher also had to interview with the Dean of the School of Nursing at Missouri Valley, Peggy Van Dyke.
This is the first time in the college’s history it has admitted a high school senior into its nursing program as a junior.
“Whitney is a very motivated and hard working young lady,” Van Dyke said by phone Monday afternoon. “She is the first student in my 35 years in nursing education who will transition from her senior year in high school to her junior year in college.
“She does have a few classes she will need to complete this summer but I have no doubt she will be able to complete those requirements,” Van Dyke added. “Her mother advised her very well on what classes she needed for her acceptance into the program.”
Van Dyke commented that if Fisher’s transition goes well it could be a model for other high school students who are considering the nursing program at Missouri Valley.
“It feels like all of my hard work is paying off,” Fisher said. “I always thought I have to be in high school so I may as well take the classes that would benefit me the most in the future.
“The dual-credit, weighted and college classes I have completed just made sense to take while I was in high school because they were less expensive to take in high school and were taught at a different, more difficult level,” Fisher said. “They taught me a great deal about responsibility and how to manage my time because of how the classes are structured.”
Fisher has completed her requirements for college algebra, trigonometry, Composition I and II, public speaking, History I and II, religion, music appreciation, anatomy and psychology and sociology.
“I applied at the end of March after I spoke to Valley and they said they could transfer all of my credits; it seemed like the perfect place for me to go to college,” Fisher said. “They are going to allow me to take some other classes online this summer and there are a few I will test out of to make this happen.
“It really didn’t seem real until I received my acceptance letter,” Fisher added. “When my dad (Eric Fisher) told me that in two years, if I continued to work hard, I could be working in a job helping to save lives, it became a little bit more of a reality to me.”
Another reality came to Fisher when she signed her letter of intent as a part of the college’s track and field program.
An all-conference, all-district athlete in high school, Fisher has been a member of the varsity volleyball, girls’ basketball, track and field and cheerleading squads.
Fisher is the president of Smithton’s Students Council and Future Business Leaders (FBLA) as well as a member of National Honor Society, and the secretary of the science club and historian of the American Field Service club (AFS).
For her accomplishments, Fisher has been awarded $13,000 in scholarships to attend Missouri Valley.
“I know this won’t be easy but I understand the time commitment to both programs and how much work is needed,” Fisher said. “In many respects it is a progression of what I have lived.
“I know where I am going and what will happen next year,” Fisher added. “I have a plan for my future and I can’t wait to begin the next phase.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484