The story of Leah Dickerson Andrews’ path to cancer care is told today in SWVAToday, an online newsite from Wytheville, Va. Leah is a member of the Grace Brethren Church in Riner, Va. A portion of the story appears below. Click here for the complete article.
Her mother paved the path for her passion
For Leah Dickerson Andrews, nursing has taken a different direction.
She said she has known since her teen years what her chosen profession would be. “When I was 16 years old, my grandmother was in and out of the hospital with congestive heart failure and I saw what the nurses did for her. It became a calling.”
After graduating from Floyd County High School in 2011, she attended New River Community College, where she pursued an associate’s degree in nursing. She graduated in June 2014, became licensed as a Registered Nurse and started working at LewisGale Hospital in Blacksburg – where her grandmother had been hospitalized years ago.
Leah said her co-workers embraced her and the family during this difficult time. “They were wonderful.” Her hospital friends even planned a wedding for her and fiancé Jacob. “Your mom is having a good day so far,” a co-worker told her as she was coming off the night shift that morning. “Why don’t you get married so she has time to enjoy the wedding?’” After the decision was made, the co-workers had about 6 hours to make it happen. The hospital catered the evening wedding. It was a special time for all. Eunice passed away on October 2, about two weeks later.
At the time of her mother’s fight against Stage 4 cancer, Leah said the thoughts of working in oncology first emerged. “Obviously it was not the right time for me. But my mom is kind of the one that paved the path for my passion.”
Three years later, she found herself back in school, at Liberty University, as she worked toward a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. As part of a cohort with LewisGale employees, she has been working online and attending a once a week class in Salem. She will complete her nursing classes next month. She should graduate in May 2018.
“When I started the fall semester at the end of August,” Leah said, “I just had this really big tug on my heart (that said) ‘you need to get your chemo certification’.” She went on to complete the certification in 4 days. “It usually takes people a month or two to finish it,” she commented. “I know it was in God’s hand.”
Click here for the complete article.