From Hospital Volunteer to Nurse: Freeman Loves Her Career Choice
Sept. 10, 2021 - When Misty Freeman was a student at Scotland High School, she volunteered as a "candy striper" at Scotland Memorial Hospital. Almost two decades later, she is still making rounds at the hospital, but now as a registered nurse.
A graduate of Richmond Community College's Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program, she has worked a total of 15 years for Scotland Memorial.
"I work in the resource pool where I have worked in the ER, ICU, progressive care unit, women's service, and telemetry, but I currently do charge in our ICU and COVID unit," Freeman said.
Those early years as a hospital volunteer are what made her want to become a nurse.
"I love critical care nursing, and although we are in a pandemic, I couldn’t see myself in any other career during this time," Freeman said. "I went into nursing because I love helping people, and no matter what, I would do that at any cost."
Freeman decided to enroll in the nursing program at RichmondCC for several practical reasons. It was close to home; it was affordable; and she was a single mother.
"At the time I had a small child so going off to a university wasn’t an option. After doing some research, I knew that going off to a university did not necessarily make you a better nurse," she said. "I knew RichmondCC had an awesome nursing program."
While awesome, it was also challenging. When she and her family would go out to eat, she would take her textbooks with her so she could stay on top of all the required reading.
"Nothing came easy for me and I knew that I had to get through the program the first time around so I really had to study," she said. "My parents are the ones who instilled in me that education is important, and they helped me get through school."
Her parents, Kim and Ricky Freeman, both work for RichmondCC. Ricky is a welding instructor, and Kim works in the maintenance department. Her mother also graduated in June from RichmondCC with an Office Administration degree.
RichmondCC's nursing instructors also had a great impact on Freeman's drive and determination to become a nurse.
"Ronnie Lynn Tunstall was a huge inspiration to me. She was a friend when we needed that and she was the teacher that we needed as well. She gave us real-life scenarios with her teaching style and her years of experience as an emergency department nurse and a paramedic," Freeman said.
In her position at Scotland Memorial, Freeman serves as a mentor for new hires, as well as nursing students who complete clinical rounds at the hospital.
"Misty is a positive role model, but above and beyond she is an amazing nurse who takes care of her patients, families and other members of the healthcare team," Tunstall said. " I am proud to know that she is an alumni of our ADN program and a single mom who has overcome many obstacles to be successful."
Since graduating from the ADN program in 2011, Freeman has earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through Western Governor's University and a Critical Care Certification (CCRN). Her plan is to stay working at the bedside of patients; however, at some point in her career, she would like to pursue her dream job of flight nursing.
"I did a ride along program with Duke Life Flight, and the experience was amazing," Freeman said. "But I came to work at Scotland Memorial to give back to my community. I have worked with great leaders and would recommend this facility to anyone coming into nursing."
While Freeman received financial aid to help pay for her classes and books, Scotland Memorial Hospital also covered many of her college expenses in return for working for the hospital for two years.
Freeman said she is the nurse she is today because of the foundation she received at RichmondCC. Her daughter, Hailey Bustard, just started her first year at RichmondCC this fall semester. She is taking prerequisite classes that will transfer into a radiology program.
"I feel like when I chose to come to RichmondCC, that was one of the best decisions I could have made," Freeman said. "College can be one of the most exciting times in your life. It’s an experience that comes with memories that last a lifetime. RichmondCC made that happen for me. I’m proud my daughter is attending RichmondCC and that she is getting the support she needs to accomplish her goals."
Applications for admission into the Associate Degree Nursing and Practical Nursing programs for the 2022 Fall Semester are now being accepted. Nursing program applicants will also need to schedule an appointment to take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).
For more information about the nursing program or other programs at RichmondCC, call Student Services at (910) 410-1700. More classes are starting Oct. 18.