Latasha Thomas, a senior nursing student at Northwestern State University, has received a 2015-16 Nursing Education Scholarship from the Louisiana Council of Administrators of Nursing Education.
“Nursing has become a way of life for me,” said Thomas. “When I began the nursing program in 2005, I never thought I would see the day of not only having earned the title of registered nurse, but actually being very close to having a bachelor’s degree in nursing.”
Thomas is scheduled to graduate in May, capping an 11-year effort to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She started at Northwestern State in 2005, earned an associate in nursing in 2010. She has been working toward her bachelor’s for the past four years.
Thomas directs the New Life Crisis Pregnancy Center in Leesville which administers pregnancy tests and provides peer counseling for women. The Center provides prenatal, childbirth and parenting education, as well as assistance for clients to include diapers, baby wipes, formula, baby food, clothing, household goods and personal items. All services are free and confidential.
Thomas found out about the Center nine years ago and began volunteering.
“When I first began nursing school, I applied for scholarships in numerous places. I was always asked how I planned to use my nursing skills after graduation,” she said. “I would explain my desire to open a crisis pregnancy center in my community and encourage women to have healthy pregnancies and raise healthy, happy children. During my time in school, I discovered there was already such a place in our community that was just getting started. I eagerly began volunteering, and the center became a vital part of my family’s life.”
New Life has seen significant growth in recent years and now assists approximately 100 families a month. The organization recently moved to a larger location to meet the needs of the community. Thomas thinks her education will help her better run the Center.
“I want to see our center become a medical facility that offers a variety of services including testing and education free of charge,” said Thomas. “To be able to credibly direct such an organization, I must increase my knowledge base both in and out of the classroom. While it is possible to run an organization such as the one we desire without additional credentials, I feel it would be in the best interest of our center for me to strive to higher heights in the field of nursing to ensure I am well-prepared to serve my community.”