Naima Turner arrived in Michigan in August 2009. She had an eight-day-old newborn and three other children aged ten, nine and two and was facing a new life as a single mother after separating from her husband. She had no income, no car, no furniture, and her only support system was her mother.
Turner had one thing going for her, though, and that was her certainty that she knew what she wanted to become, though she wasn’t quite sure how she would get there – yet. She was starting her life over again with nothing but love and determination.
She and her children stayed in her mother’s one room basement for three months until she got her own place in a trailer home. She had to ask for assistance from the Michigan Department of Human Services to survive. In order to get help from Michigan Works she needed to volunteer. So, she volunteered, cared for children, and started going to school full time at SC4, taking the prerequisite courses needed to get into the Associate Degree Nursing program.
Although Macomb Community College was closer, Turner’s aunt Crystal was already in the SC4 nursing program and recommended it to her niece. She told her that the instructors were outstanding, which Turner found out was absolutely true.
“Tami Turney, Kim Murphy, and Laurie Lamont were amazing!” Turner recalled. “They were personable, yet professional. Their compassion as nurses shone through in their roles as educators, as well. Their teaching styles were exactly what I needed to drive the subject home and help me remember. They used stories – and laughter – to help us recall difficult content and make it more applicable.”
Turner was so inspired by her SC4 instructors that she decided to follow in their footsteps and become a nursing instructor herself.
“Nursing is about so much more than just skills and knowledge,” she explained. “It’s also about the standards and characteristics that the profession requires and demands. I love being able to contribute to the development of extraordinary nurses who go out and serve our communities.”
Turner completed her ADN degree at SC4 in May 2013, then continued her education at Chamberlain University, getting her BSN and her MSN degrees there. For her MSN, she majored in nursing education. She’s currently completing her DNP degree at Chamberlain and expects to graduate this year.
She’s served for nearly eight years as a staff nurse in obstetrics, including labor and delivery, antepartum, and post-partum care; as a clinical instructor in OB and pediatrics; a didactic nursing instructor, and is currently the Director of Nursing for a program in California.
Her experience getting started at SC4 left a lasting impression of the value of a community college education.
“It’s priceless,” Turner said. “It’s vital for communities to accommodate adult learners, their schedules, and their lives, while enabling them to reach their goals and dreams. Community colleges aren’t as costly but are just as reliable and valuable when it comes to the education and experience gained. Students who choose community colleges receive a great educational experience and go on to do great things.”
Turner is certainly an example of that. Despite her difficulties when she moved to Michigan a decade ago, her current success is inspiring and shows the power of self-determination and hard work.
“It was extremely rough and difficult, but I persevered despite all the difficulties and barriers,” Turner said. “God is merciful, and he saw me through it all. If someone is determined to reach their goals, no circumstance or obstacle can deter or stop them. No matter where you are, where you’re destined to be and who you’re destined to become is a realty that only you can make come true.”