NEWARK, Ohio, December 6, 2016, 2016 – As 44-year-old Jolanda Davila heads into work on the fifth floor of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, she knows in her heart she's where she is supposed to be. Davila is a psychiatric nurse on the inpatient psychiatric unit. She helps mentally ill children learn to manage their illness by being there to support them and their families during very difficult times.
"Some days it's really tough," said Davila. "But this is a perfect position for me, and at the end of the day, I know I'm helping children who really need love and support."
Davila lives in Utica and graduated from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) in December 2015 with an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Technology. She started her nursing degree when she was 38 years old and had two children.
"I already had a bachelor's degree in social work and a master's degree in organizational management," said Davila. "However, I felt like I was being called to be a nurse. So, even though I was working full time as a social worker in Worthington and was a single mother with a 12 year old and a baby to take care of at home, I decided I had to follow my heart and go back to school. I had a lot of late nights and studying, and sometimes it was difficult getting to clinicals that were an hour away and trying to find daycare. Financially it was also a struggle because I was doing all of this on a social worker's salary, but I made it through."
Davila kept putting off pursing her nursing degree because she had never done well in math and science. Those subjects really scared her. When she started at COTC, one of her first courses was algebra. She had to dig deep and push through the course.
"Going back to school was the best decision I ever made. COTC is a tough program. Looking back, I'm thankful for that because it made me be a better nurse," said Davila. "Getting through those difficult classes made me treasure my degree all the more. I'd like to say to anybody who is sitting there thinking I can't do this, I work and I have children, if I can do it, you can do it. Don't stop. Not on the worst day. Don't stop on your worst day when you are critiqued by your clinical instructor. They are supposed to do that. They are preparing you because nursing is not easy. It's rewarding. It will be the best decision you've ever made, but it's not easy. They have to be tough on you."
Once Davila graduated, she went to a job fair at Nationwide Children's Hospital. When she was there she found out that they were hiring nurses for the psychiatric floor. Davila knew her background in social work would make her an ideal candidate.
"It was meant to be. The job is rewarding, even on the most stressful days there. There's something that I did that was positive. I made a difference in a child's life," said Davila. "Even on my worst day, when I'm tired and I haven't slept, I still leave knowing that I'm doing a great thing.
"I want to say to all those nursing professors and clinical instructors at COTC who put up with me when I was a real pain, thanks for not giving up on me. Thanks for pushing me to be better than I wanted to be at that time. You have no idea what a difference you've made in my life."
Central Ohio Technical College opened in 1971 and is celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2016. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.