Spring 2022 Graduate Stories

Shelly Heeren

Shelly Heeren

My experience here has been very rewarding

Nursing Graduate Shelly Heeren Returns to School After 20 Years

Shelly Heeren decided to enroll in the nursing program at the age of 43 after being out of school for more than 20 years. She always wanted to be in the healthcare field, but life’s events prevented her from doing so early on. Hereen said her grandmother was a nurse which inspired her to take an interest in this field. She had the support of her family and made up her mind to apply at BRCC in the fall of 2019. What attracted her to BRCC was the nursing program’s curriculum.  

“I saw that BRCC had a two-year program, and I was excited about getting started,” said Heeren. “Being an older student, I did not want to waste more time.”

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at BRCC and I had wonderful instructors who were always available. Heeren said she has been taking classes year-round without any breaks and is glad to see that she has reached the finish line. She pointed out that one particular summer course that kept her up at night was Statistic, but she diligently worked to pull through that class. Herren said her area of concertation will be mental health nursing. She is excited that she has a job offered and will be starting soon as an RN in a mental health unit at the Baton Rouge General Hospital. 

Heeren’s goals are to go back to school to work on her bachelor’s degree and obtain a graduate degree as she aspires to become a mental health Nurse Practitioner. She said she will also consider working in academia due to having many wonderful clinical instructors at BRCC.

“My clinical instructors were very helpful in guiding me along the way,” said Heeren. “They made sure that I got to see and do everything that I needed to learn.” Heeren said she wants to ensure that the next generation of nursing students have a similar experience as she had while in school.

Heeren said it feels great to be a BRCC graduate and it’s sometimes hard to believe what she has accomplished within two years. She encourages other students to maintain their focus on what they started out to achieve. 

Heeren was also part of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) organization. However, due to COVID restrictions, she said they couldn’t do many events away from campus, but they met twice a month on Zoom to ensure that they supported each other in achieving their individual goals. Heeren emphasized that BRCC’s NSLS chapter was just as supportive as her family and friends.