I bet many of us, here on the board, can relate to the struggles and triumphs this nurse had:
Persistence drove nurse intern Chin Robinson to success
KATHLEEN DURAND , Herald News Staff Reporter 06/05/2004
FALL RIVER -- Chin Robinson said she doesn't take no for an answer, a trait that allowed her to fight for and win success.
Robinson, a 40-year-old single mother of two sons, ages 15 and 9, will receive her associate's degree in nursing today from Bristol Community College. That's quite an achievement for someone who spoke broken English just five years ago.
A native of South Korea, Robinson said, "Anybody can do it. It's doable."
She knows there are many single mothers in Fall River, and she said some of them give in to depression, instead of concentrating on how they can better themselves.
She came to the United States in 1985 to escape an arranged marriage. She met and married the father of her sons, Jonathan and James. When the marriage ended in divorce in 1999 after 11 years, Robinson said although she was raised to be submissive and dependent, she realized she needed to build a life for herself and her boys.
That became obvious to her when one of the boy's teachers sent home a note. Humiliated and embarrassed because she couldn't read it, Robinson said she enrolled in classes at SER-Jobs for Progress for three months.
Robinson, who earned a high school diploma in South Korea, then went on to the English as a Second Language program at BCC. At that point she could read, but not write, English.
"I told them I wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to write and I wanted to raise my children as proud Americans, but I could not," she said.
She said her instructors cautioned her that the nursing program is very demanding and she would have to compete with straight-A, American-born students to get in. But Robinson completed the ESL program in one year with all A's and won a place in the nursing program.
"The teachers were wonderful," she said. "I never slept more than four or five hours a night. I had to study harder than the Americans."
Robinson always has to get up early in the morning to prepare her older son for school. Jonathan was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. She said many other children with the disorder are confined to wheelchairs.
"I had to challenge that," said Robinson.
She took her son to three different geneticists and for physical, occupational and speech therapy; she also worked with him at home.
"He surprised us and the doctors by walking," she said.
Robinson will start a job at St. Anne's Hospital on June 14 as a nurse intern and will be taking her state board exam to become a registered nurse.
"I'm going from no job to $29 an hour. That's awesome," she said.
She said she wants to get a solid background in nursing first and then work with oncology patients. She said St. Anne's is a wonderful hospital that is very good to its patients.
"I can support my kids. I don't have that anxiety any more," she said.
Robinson said she always admired nurses, but the real impetus to become a nurse came from caring for her older son and dealing with the many wonderful doctors and nurses who helped him get better.
"You learn a lot. I didn't want a minimum-wage job," she said. "I wanted to prove I could do this. A door was closed, but another door opened. I gave it everything I had."
Robinson said nursing is a wonderfully rewarding job. "I just know I'll be OK now, I'll be OK with my kids," she said. "If you improve yourself, your children follow. The system is there if you are willing to improve yourself. This country has good resources and opportunities to make it."
She received a curriculum award for being an outstanding nursing student. In nominating her, natural sciences professor Alan J. Ventetuolo stated that Robinson never failed to astonish him with her perseverance and determination.
He called Robinson courageous and said in his 15 years at BCC he can't think of a student more deserving of the award.
Kathleen Durand may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org