Nontraditional student returns to Georgia Southern University to chart new career path


christine clark hammond

For years Christine Clarke Hammond believed she had a solid professional career. She was an exercise physiologist, her health coach, and wellness and fitness program manager. But she found herself at a crossroads during her COVID-19 pandemic. After working for more than 20 years at a hospital in Savannah, she lost her job. The hospital fitness facility she managed was closed during the pandemic.

“I was there 18 years,” said Clark Hammond.

At this momentous turning point, Clark Hammond decided to pursue the career he had always dreamed of.

“I had always considered going back to school for nursing, but I was making good money and was happy with my position, so I didn’t have a great desire to do it.” I was also balancing going into debt for more schools and really feeling like I had to do it. , the living circumstances helped me make the decision.It was like divine intervention.God pushed me to go ahead and make the decision.”

Clark Hammond couldn’t be more excited at the graduation ceremony at Georgia Southern University at Enmarket Arena in Savannah on December 10th. The month after she turned 50, she crossed the stage to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. But this wasn’t the first time she was a student at Armstrong’s campus. She received her BA in Biology from Armstrong State University in 1995 and her MA in Kinesiology from Southern University in 1998. Clark Hammond entered Waters College of Health Professions in Spring 2021.

“It was a bit of a culture shock,” said the non-traditional student. “It was a lot more challenging than I expected. But because we were all in the same situation, it was really a great sense of accomplishment at the end that we all banded together to get through this stressful program.” rice field.”

2022 graduates have also noticed significant changes in the classroom since earning their first degree.

“When I was in school, there was no internet,” recalls Clark Hammond. “I remember procrastinating paperwork and having to drive to the Medical College of Georgia to get the resources I needed. As a multimodal learner, this has contributed significantly to my success as a student.”

Despite the age difference between her and most other students, the newly graduated nurse said she always felt fit.

“In my first semester, there was this young 19-year-old in my class,” said Clark Hammond. “Our cohort included a wide range of ages, but we all shared the same experiences in this challenging program, so we could easily relate to each other and eventually age. We were able to fill the gap in

The nurse also said that the hard work of the nursing school’s dedicated faculty members contributed to the success of the graduates.

“Having gone through the program, I think they are definitely preparing you,” she said. This program really gives me the foundation to be a successful nurse.”

The foundation included opportunities for real-world experience during two external nursing residencies. During her clinical residency at Memorial Health in Savannah last spring, Clark Herhammond was introduced to the hospital’s delivery program. She completed an internship over the summer and an apprenticeship there this fall, which led to her being recruited. She will start working there in February.

“I never thought about labor until I joined this program,” she said. “But this spring we did a maternal/infant clinical and fell in love with labor and delivery on day one. We have a post-anesthesia room or a triage and delivery room for emergency patients.Labor and delivery is a fast-paced department and that really appeals to me.”

Clark Hammond is excited about what lies ahead after completing his studies. She was one of the nursing graduates who gathered at the pinning ceremony held two days before her graduation. This traditional rite of passage recognizes students’ hard work and welcomes them into the nursing profession. At the ceremony, Clark had another surprise for her Hammond when her BSN Clinician of Excellence Award winners were announced.

“They called my name and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s your name,'” said Clark Hammond. Once on stage, he found himself in good spirits and had to hold back his tears. I was so shocked and very honored. ”

Clark Hammond described himself as a lifelong learner and said graduation was bittersweet.

“It’s bittersweet because I’ve built relationships with these students and faculty,” she said. It will take me a while to start my new career, but I plan to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree in nursing in the not too distant future.”





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