We all know that life doesn’t always pan out the way we envision it, but we all have a choice—to succumb to circumstances or to push through to attain success.
For Rhonee’ Ford, there was only one option. She was going to be successful.
At the tender age of 18, Rhonee’ became a mother of twin girls Alaya and Amir. But having her girls young was not a deterrent for her to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse, although there were some challenges along the way.
“I had my moments but for the most part I knew I always wanted more for myself and for my daughters. Especially being a single mother, I knew that I had to strive to give them a great start in life like I had. Once I have my mind set on something I will most likely achieve it,” she tells Today In Bermuda.
And on May 18, 2017, Rhonee’ realised her dream when she graduated from the Bermuda College with an Associate Degree of Science in Nursing.
From as long as she can remember, Rhonee’, now 29, says she wanted to be a nurse, and it seems like was her destiny.
“I always knew I would do something within healthcare because I love to care for people and show my nurturing side. I pursued a diploma in Certified Pharmacy Technician right after high school in 2005 at Compucollege in Halifax, Canada.
“This was the only course that was healthcare related that interested me at the time, so I went for it. I was pregnant during the process of my schooling and managed to graduate while taking care of two newborns at the same time.
“I returned to Bermuda in 2006 and began working as a Certified Pharmacy Technician right away. I enjoyed what I was doing but I started to think of other possibilities and knew Nursing would be for me.
“I had outstanding role models who encouraged me when I decided to pursue my goals. My Aunt Gaynell is the Chief Nursing Officer and has been the only nurse in Bermuda to win the "Nurse of The Year" twice. My father Russ Ford inspired me because whatever he put his mind to he achieved. He was Nurse of the Year" in 2005, Founder of Bermuda's first and only Hospice Agape House and former Senior Nursing Officer at the Bermuda Department of Corrections.
“My mother Rhonda Ford has been working at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (formerly St.Brendans) as a Community Support Worker/Nurse’s Aide and was Nurse’s Aide of the Year in 2015, so I guess you can say it runs in my blood!”
Rhonee’ reflects on her early college days in Canada: “It was most definitely a struggle…I had the twins and I started working within two months of their birth to begin my internship. I was glad that my parents pushed me to finish college and supported me 100% so that I could provide for my daughters.”
But it wasn’t a cake walk for her.
“Over the past few years I have completed some online classes and classes sporadically at the College to get myself prepared to go overseas to pursue my nursing career,” says Rhonee’.
“Some days I really felt like a nervous wreck because I knew I had to get it all done but I was functioning on only a few hours of sleep. I felt very overwhelmed and truthfully didn’t think it would work out but once again support and prayer were key components through this process.
“I also think of the times I had no one to watch the twins and I had to take them to class with me which was a bit stressful but I knew I had to find a balance.”
When asked if she ever thought she would not achieve her goals, Rhonee’ responds, “I had so many moments when I wanted to give up because it gets so overwhelming. However, one time that sticks out in my mind was recently when four of my close family members, two being the twins, took sick. I really felt like I hit rock bottom because of course I was worried about them and with that being said, there was no way I was able to focus.
“I asked myself, ‘How will I cope knowing my main support for the twins can’t even help me?’ I just knew in my mind that I was not going to graduate because I had lost all motivation and drive. My assignments were piling up, I started to get sick because I was stressing so therefore I couldn’t work and make money, I was missing classes, my daughters’ projects were due, etc. I felt helpless and defeated knowing I’m so close to graduation.
“I managed to push through with the power of prayer firstly. There is no way I would have made it without God on my side and the support of my family and awesome friends. I also broke down and asked for help with the twins which may seem like the obvious thing to do but I’m not one to ask for help. But I knew at this point I had no choice. I spoke with my instructors and other necessary persons and they allowed time for me to get myself together.”
Rhonee’ says she is thankful to be able to pursue her nursing education without having to spend a significant amount of time off the Island.
“My biggest fear during this nursing journey was leaving my daughters behind in Bermuda. I had plans to take them with me but financially I wasn’t able to afford it. I decided to take advantage of the Associate of Science in Nursing at Bermuda College due to the practicality of being able to work while I was in school and being able to have support from my family while doing it.
“I’m not sure if I would do it again in a heartbeat with juggling a fulltime job, fulltime mother and fulltime school. However, I do plan to start my Bachelor’s degree online in the near future.”
Rhonee’ offers this advice to young mothers who think they cannot achieve their goals: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. I believe God has blessed us all with a purpose to fulfill in this life and whatever a mother might see that to be, she should find out why and who she is doing it for.”
Rhonee’ also sees herself as a role model to her twins and offers these four nuggets to them: “When God is for you who can be against you, the power of positive thinking will get you everything in life, make your friends before you need them, and what is meant for you will be for you.”
Well said Nurse Ford. Well said.