SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth:JACQUELINE SALMON is an extraordinary student.
She is a persistent 50-year-old student who is currently enrolled in a practical nursing programme at the National College of Professional Studies in Santa Cruz. Salmon told The Gleaner that she has been attracted to the nursing field from she was younger.
"I am that tender person who likes to be there for people, that's me, and from a girl coming up, I always like to be uniformed personnel," stated Salmon.
She even got the opportunity, years ago while living in Kingston, to work at a company which utilises the services of practical nurses.
Salmon was untrained at the time and, when she went on maternity leave, the company advised her to get certified. After her son was born, Salmon said she had intended to get the necessary certification and even registered at an institution in Kingston. However, she had to postpone those plans because of some challenges. She also relocated to St Elizabeth.
Salmon was forced into domestic work in an effort to support her son. Years later, she made two additional attempts to get certified, but was again unable to because of more difficulties
"I went to HEART Trust/NTA and started, but I got sick because of pressure, so mi just drop out because of circumstances. In-between, I was doing live-in jobs," explained Salmon.
Her reprieve came last year when she sent out random applications.
"I applied, I did not know it was a school I sent out applications to and it's like someone put in my application here. When I found out it was a school, mi say mi nah mek this opportunity pass mi. I decided I am going to make this opportunity the one I didn't get."
She also works at the institution. Salmon told The Gleaner that she receives a lot of support. She said her son who is currently in second form has even volunteered to draw diagrams for some of the courses. He also encourages her "because I started two times and he was hurt, 'Him sey bwoy, Mummy, try make the best of it this trip,' '' said Salmon.
The encouragement continues at her church, with her friends and her classmates. Salmon said her classmates refer to her as Ms Jackie and are extremely supportive. One of her teachers, Julian Dixon Plummer, had high praises for her and the director of nursing, Harriet Davidson, - said: "I respect her, she is a good student, she is ambitious and never gives up. She always tries to find a way to come through for her and her son."
Salmon told The Gleaner that, although she has not received external assessment, she does well in her classes and has even got 70s and 80s in some tests.
When she completes her course, she is hopeful that she will get a job and has plans to operate her own business in the future.