Proud Mom Proves It's Never Too Late
By Hannah Meinke on 05/08/2022
Natasha Caviness always wanted to be a nurse. “As far back as middle school, I wanted to pursue a degree in nursing,” she says. But life is not always that simple.
“Most people in my life thought I was odd, having a love for being in the hospital or clinic,” Natasha says. Whether she was a patient herself or visiting someone else, she was intrigued by the environment—by how nurses had such a profound impact on people’s lives. She felt certain that this was her calling and started pursuing education to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
“That mindset of bettering my life and others slowly diminished when I went down the wrong path and became addicted to drugs and alcohol,” she says. “How could I help others if I could not help myself?"
For 16 years, Natasha struggled with addiction. Though she tried to quit many times, it eventually took a life-threatening overdose and losing everything to realize she was enough on her own.
Natasha checked herself into treatment on November 23, 2016, and has been in recovery ever since.
Returning to Where It Started
After treatment, Natasha returned to her dream of becoming a nurse. At first, she wasn’t sure if she could overcome her past, but her grandmother pushed her to try anyway, encouraging her to further her education.
“I knew that if I wasn’t going to do it now, I was never going to do it,” she says.
On September 30, 2019, Natasha enrolled in the Rasmussen University Practical Nursing program.
Sadly, a few months into working on her prerequisites, Natasha’s grandmother passed away. A few months into the program itself, COVID-19 hit.
“I failed a few classes and I got really down on myself. I also dropped a few classes,” she says. “At times, I had everything going against me.”
But Natasha did not give up.
With the support of her four children, significant other, friends, instructors and advisors, she kept going.
After three years, Natasha graduated, passed the NCLEX-PN® and became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
A Mom’s Proudest Moment
Through it all, Natasha’s proudest moment was finally being able to tell her four boys, “Mom did it.”
At the very beginning, “I told my kids, mom is going to give you guys a better life. And that helped push me through,” she recalls.
After everything she’s experienced, Natasha understands the importance of believing in yourself and keeping your support system close.
“I’m really hard on myself,” she says. “I know I deserve this, but you just go through so many things in life.” Even after passing the NCLEX, at first, she didn’t believe the results were true. But she continues to remind herself: “I worked this hard. I deserve this.”
Natasha encourages others to reach out and ask for help even when it’s hard. It can be easy to let pride get in the way, but you may be able to help uplift one another.
“Lean on those friends you make in your program as no one else really knows what you are going through,” she says. And if nothing else, “Just don’t give up.”
The Future Is Bright
Since graduating, Natasha has moved to Mankato, Minnesota, and began working at a local nursing home as an LPN.
Though COVID has made the transition more difficult, she says that she’s enjoying being able to build relationships with her patients.
“I love hearing the stories,” she says, “like the times in the war and how life was then and how we take so much for granted now.”
Eventually, she hopes to earn her RN license and work as a mental health nurse at a treatment facility for addiction.
Natasha is truly an inspiration to others, proving that no matter what you go through in life, it is never too late to pursue your goals.
NCLEX-PN is registered trademark of National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc.