For years, Wanda Holden’s commitment to the nursing profession has been evident to those who know her. From her dedication to her studies as a student at Sampson Community College years ago, to her commitment to nursing at Sampson Regional Medical Center. Throughout her career, Holden has seen nursing grow and change over the years.
When Holden was in middle school, her mother went to Sampson Community College, called Sampson Technical Institute at the time, to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. In high school, Holden began to consider careers and knew she wanted to be a nurse. After hearing of her mother’s experience at the nursing program at SCC, Holden knew exactly where she wanted to attend. She stated, “What I wanted in life was right here in Sampson County.” She looked no further.
She expected nursing school to be rigorous, and she was right, but instructors created a welcoming learning environment in return. Holden reflected, “Our instructors expected a lot, but they gave so much more in return. They taught us in the classroom and then we would perform our skills in the clinical setting. SCC provided me with everything that I needed to succeed in my field.”
Holden’s former instructor, and former Director of Nursing at SCC, Mary Brown, said, “She was an outstanding student, very inquisitive, and always focused and still is.”
After graduation from SCC in 1977, Holden began her career at Sampson Regional Medical Center (SRMC). Early in her career, she worked on the surgical unit, an experience she enjoyed. There she found mentorship, but also worked alongside her mother and physicians who shared their knowledge. Holden noted, “My early experiences in nursing established my foundation for my future in nursing.”
For this reason, Holden became interested in earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She began taking general education courses at night at SCC, while simultaneously working the 11 PM to 7 AM shift at the hospital. She would go on to complete her BSN at East Carolina University and graduate in 1983. Soon after, she became Nurse Manager of the Telemetry Unit, where she stayed until 2013.
Throughout her long career at SRMC, Holden has seen the field of nursing evolve. She remembers wearing the white uniforms, nursing cap, and wearing her hair off of her shoulders. Today, nurses wear scrubs and don’t wear a cap. Holden says appearance may have changed, but the standards and teaching of nursing have remained steadfast. She remarked, “Even amidst the changes that have often been challenging for everyone, we have continued to serve our customers with expertise and compassion.”
Holden spoke with pride as she recounted the changes SRMC has gone through over the years—including the addition of the Center for Health and Wellness, the addition of the Outpatient Diagnostic Center and the remodeling of the third loor.
Even when keeping up with ever-changing government and insurance regulations, she says the changes made have been “fantastic” for the hospital.
Wanda Capps, former Division Chair of Health Programs, and current Vice President of Academic Affairs said this of Holden, “With her long-standing commitment to SRMC and SCC, she has impacted, educated and supported nursing students and our graduates to succeed. More importantly she has role modeled the caring traits all nurse should possess.”
Studying nursing at SCC allowed Holden to do her clinicals at SRMC. Meaning she was already familiar with the facilities when she was hired. Therefore, as a new employee, she could focus on nursing and providing quality care. Holden says she couldn’t have done this anywhere else, especially not so close to home.
Now, as Infection Control Coordinator, a role she’s served in since 2013, she knows that SCC set the foundation for her career. To others considering taking the first step at SCC, Holden says, “Go for it!!!”
About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options and early college education.