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Conversations with the Inspiring Chastity Oakes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chastity Oakes.

Chastity, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I didn’t take the traditional path into nursing; I took a journey. My healthcare career started when I was a teacher and I was needing extra money, so I decided to take a personal assistant job sitting with a quadriplegic gentleman on the weekends. That is what sparked my love of nursing. That’s why I decided to become a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) so that I was properly trained to safely take care of others. I did that for a while and then decided to add to my certification and become a Patient Care Technician, which enabled me to work in the hospital. Even with my extra certification, I started to feel like my hands were tied and that I wanted to have the knowledge to do more for the patients that I was taking care of. So, I started looking into becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). I was very nervous about taking the entrance exam because I had been out of school for so long and when I was in college before I was not married with children.

However, I mustered up enough courage to apply and take the exam. I was a little discouraged when I did not score high enough to get into the RN program, but I did qualify for the licensed practical nurse program (LPN). So, I started the LPN program only to get hit with another disappointment after my first quarter; our family situation changed and I could not afford the tuition. I had to stop school. I was devastated. I went back to teaching again and a year later I was able to re-enroll back into the LPN program. I was so excited until I learned that since it had been a year, I had to retake the entrance exam again! This was so upsetting. I went through the agony of doubting myself and telling myself I could not do it.

Finally, I took the entrance exam again and to my amazement I scored high enough the second time to enroll in the RN program! I was elated and learned from that moment that sometimes things happen for a reason and to take each day as it comes. Needless to say, from that point, I did not look back after I graduated. The nursing field has been very good to me, I have been able to touch people’s lives and provide support for them during very critical times in their lives.

I tell my story because I want others to know that no matter where you are in life or no matter how many disappointments you may encounter you can achieve your dreams. I started Arise Health Institute because I want to help others gain their entry into the healthcare field and know that the sky is the limit.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was definitely not a smooth road. As I mentioned before, I started nursing school as a non-traditional student. I was already married and I had two young children. So, balancing a family and nursing school was not easy, but it was doable. Also, the financial struggle of not being able to work full time was a challenge on our family too. However, even with all that being said, I was able to get creative and make it work. I had to be determined and focused to get through. Then, even after I graduated as a new nurse, I had to contend with nurse bullying which is a problem in the nursing community where nurses eat their young instead of supporting them. Within the time that ended and I was placed in an environment where I could grow professionally.

My advice to women, particularly young women is: If you are going through something that things always work themselves out. You always come out on the other side stronger and more knowledgeable. I have gone through a divorce where at one point, I did not have custody of my children and there were times when I really thought that I was not going to gain custody. I literally worked night and day to pay for my lawyer and my private investigator. I worked night shift as a staff nurse and when I got off, I would go to the local high school and teach certified nursing assistant classes. That was one of the darkest times in my life. However, hard work, determination and staying positive put me on top. I was promoted to being a nurse supervisor of an ICU and step-down unit during that time. I also was given full custody of my children.

What should we know about Arise Health Institute? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As the owner of Arise Health Institute, I am looking to provide entry-level medical career choices to those who are looking for a new career. Many nurses start off in entry-level health care positions and work their way up. Entry level healthcare careers are certified nurse’s assistant, phlebotomist, patient care technicians, medical assistants, etc. Further, some colleges are starting to require that students applying to nursing programs, to be certified nursing assistants first. To me, this shows how valuable the skills that are learned in this program are. So, having the opportunity to help jump-start someone’s career where the possibilities are endless is what I’m most proud of. I think what sets me apart is that students coming into my school can see themselves in me and I can see myself in them. I have been in their shoes and have had many of the struggles they may be going through or will have in their journey and I hope to be a source of encouragement. I am proof that you can do what you set your mind to. I started out as a personal care assistant, now I’m obtaining a master’s degree in nursing and I am an entrepreneur helping others accomplish their dreams.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
My favorite app is Audible. I live in my car so being able to listen to books fits my fast pace lifestyle. These are my most favorite books that keep my cup full and my innovative juices flowing in my Audible library.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robins, The Lemonade Stand by Wayne Shephard, and The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman.

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Image Credit:
J&K Photography

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