When HCC Nursing student Wendy Rector was a small child, her mom decided to come to HCC to pursue a nursing degree. As a missionary, she saw the need to help people with medical problems in foreign countries. Soon after finishing her degree, her mom got a job at Haywood Regional Medical Center. She did not get to practice as a nurse long before a fatal car accident took her life.
This is one of the early events in Wendy’s life that led her to follow in her mom’s footsteps. Other events that contributed to her decision to come back to school to become a nurse include time spent taking care of her grandfather before his death, the feeling of not being able to reach her potential, and the strong sense of missions in her heart.
Wendy worked in the medical field in various capacities over the last several years. She has two degrees under her belt including Dental Radiology from a nearby community college and Medical Assisting from HCC. She spent nine years as an orthodontic assistant. She realized in that field, she had reached as far as she could go and was not satisfied. Her husband began to encourage her to come back to school.
Coming back to school was a difficult decision for Wendy because not only does she have three kids ages 13, 9, and 4; but she also is their primary caregiver for sometimes three months at a time while her husband is at work in Alaska.
Since making the decision and coming back to school, Wendy has decided that everyone has potential, the key is finding it. “It’s not a matter of having more to lose as an older student,” she explains. “It’s a case of having more to gain. You know how hard it is to paddle that boat. If you apply yourself, anyone can come back to school.”
Wendy says she spent the summer taking CNA classes at HCC to get up to par for the nursing program. She says in the evenings, she’s the mom sitting on the bleachers taking up quite a few rows with all her books spread out. And this serves as an inspiration to her kids and other kids around her.
Growing up, Wendy went on a few mission trips with her parents. As an adult, she has carried on the tradition. She says the function of the trips she goes on is to build churches, take basic supplies, and spend time with the people.
Wendy remembers one time her parents brought back a lady and her son who lived with them. The lady came to HCC and received a GED. “Missions have always been a part of my life. They are always at my heart.”
The Cruso resident says she chose HCC because she is familiar with it. “I owned a small business for 10 years and I want to give back to my community and support my community.” What better way than to attend the local community college.
In addition to her medical career, Wendy has experience running small businesses. While her children were smaller, she ran a produce stand for 10 years. In addition, her husband owned an excavating business for five years. She has spent time traveling with her husband for his job and has lived in Connecticut, New York, and Alaska.
But now Wendy is ready to settle down and give her kids roots. She hopes to use her career as a nurse to give back to the community.
She is proud to be in HCC’s nursing program. “HCC nurses are wonderful. You hear it all the time.”More Student Stories