LFCC Health Professions Advisor Relates as a Nurse and a Former Patient
Nancy Groves brings a wealth of experience to the healthcare professions students she advises.
Prior to her part-time work at the Fauquier Campus beginning in July 2015 – she has been full time for about six months now – Groves had been a homeschooling mom, a registered nurse and a businesswoman.
An economics major when she graduated from what is now the University of Mary Washington, Groves spent a number of years working in human resources in the corporate world. But, the nursing field was calling her.
When she was a young teenager, Groves spent about six weeks in the Georgetown University Hospital. At the time, she wasn’t too sure what was wrong with her, but she did notice that “the nurses were wonderful.”
“It just impacted me greatly, and I wanted to be able to have that impact on someone else who may be going through a traumatic time in their life,” she says.
As she decided to pursue a nursing career, Groves called the hospital to ask for her medical records to get a better understanding of why she had been hospitalized.
She had been diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, a form of lymphatic cancer. Groves, then 13, had been scheduled for a tonsillectomy, when a routine pre-operative X-ray and a follow-up CAT scan showed she had a tumor.
“When they opened me up, the tumor wasn’t there,” Groves says. “My parents called it a miracle. While I was recovering in the cancer unit, some of the patients didn’t make it.”
As she later assessed her life working in the business world, she decided to “take the leap” and enroll in the registered nursing program at Northern Virginia Community College. She graduated in 1993, and worked at Alexandria Hospital, now Inova Alexandria Hospital, before getting married and transitioning into full-time motherhood.
Groves’s son, Stephen, is graduating from LFCC in May and is applying to four-year universities, with the plan to study biology. Her daughter, Lauren, has recently graduated from Liberty University, where she studied strategic communications.
As her children were transitioning to college, Groves turned to LFCC’s website to see if there were any nursing refresher courses. That’s when she discovered there was a need for a part-time health professions advisor, applied and was hired.
Groves advises students interested in pursuing pre-nursing courses, as well as surgical technology, dental hygiene, emergency medical services, phlebotomy and other healthcare professions.
“It helps that I have actually worked in the healthcare field,” she says. “I bring real-life experience to it. I really love working with the students. They’re kind of like an extension of my kids, and I’m trying to help them navigate their way.”
Groves finds that advising students reminds her of her nursing days.
“You’re with people at a vulnerable time in their lives, and you can be that support, or helping hand,” she says. “I really enjoy working with the students – it’s so gratifying. It’s really a privilege.”
Groves is highly regarded among students, says Fauquier Campus Dean Caroline Wood.
“They actively seek her out,” she says. “She’s student focused and detail oriented, which is especially helpful when it comes to the health professions programs with selective admissions.”