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‘It all came full circle’ — Nash Community College builds health care workforce and entrepreneurs

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  • A recent economic impact analysis found for every dollar students spend on their education at @NashCC, they gain $3.60 in higher future earnings. For nursing students, that number rises to $7.60.
  • "I always say I would not have been in business had I not become part of the Small Business Center and had those resources available to me," @NashCC alum LaToya McCurdy says. #impact58
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When LaToya McCurdy was 14, she was in a terrible car accident that left her in the hospital for over a month with a broken femur and pelvis. The care she experienced from the nurses in the hospital changed her life.

“Prior to that hospitalization, I always said I want to be a pediatrician, I want to be a doctor,” McCurdy said. “But it was that patient experience I had when I was in the hospital… The nurses had a huge impact on my day-to-day care while I was there, and that’s when I realized how they helped me, not just physically but mentally.”

She wanted to be that for other people. Now, McCurdy owns and runs two businesses: NEWH Regional Medical Center, a primary care practice serving Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, and Halifax counties, and NUTRADRiP IV Hydration and Wellness Clinic, the only IV hydration and wellness practice in Rocky Mount. She has six employees between the two businesses and credits Nash Community College with making it all possible.

“I always say I would not have been in business had I not become part of the Small Business Center and had those resources available to me,” McCurdy said. “Now we’re able to take care of the patients in our community.”

Supporting lifelong learning

The Small Business Center is just one of the ways Nash Community College (NCC) has benefited McCurdy. She first became involved with the college when she took classes as a high school student through the dual enrollment program. By the time she graduated high school, McCurdy had 12 college credits. She applied and was accepted into the associate degree nursing program and received the William C. and Janet F. Cooper Nursing Scholarship.

McCurdy graduated from NCC with an associate degree in nursing in 2010 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), master’s in family nurse practice (MSN), nurse practitioner license, and doctor of nursing (DNP) degree.

Knowing she wanted to practice where she grew up, McCurdy moved back to Rocky Mount and began practicing with Eastern North Carolina Medical Group.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to my community,” McCurdy said. “It’s very near and dear to me, because a lot of patients, they know me, they know my parents and my grandparents or my great-grandparents. Being from here, it holds a special place in your heart.”

While practicing with Eastern North Carolina Medical Group, McCurdy started noticing IV hydration bars popping up across the country and took interest.

“I kind of just started saying, hey, well from a different angle, IV hydration doesn’t just has to be for hangovers. You can infuse other vitamins and things like that for health and wellness purposes,” she said.

After seeing ones open in Charlotte and Raleigh, McCurdy started thinking about opening her own IV hydration practice in Rocky Mount. And then COVID-19 hit.

“There’s nothing beneficial about COVID, but people did become a lot more aware of their health, especially before the vaccine,” McCurdy said. “People wanted to learn things that they could do to be healthy and improve their immune system, and so we were able to fill that need in the community.”

McCurdy turned to NCC’s Small Business Center to help her open NUTRADRiP IV Hydration and Wellness Clinic in March 2021.

From learning how to write a business plan and do a market analysis to finding attorneys, health care consultants, website designers, and commercial realtors, McCurdy utilized every resource she could at the Small Business Center. She participated in a 10-week training program called Launch Rocky Mount and received a $500 grant toward opening her business.

“Every piece of NUTRADRiP was put together through the Small Business Center, every piece of it,” McCurdy said.

And when her former patients came to her begging to be seen, she used the same skills and resources to open her primary care practice, NEWH Regional Medical Center, located right next door to NUTRADRiP.

Nash Community College’s Business and Industry Center. Molly Urquhart/EducationNC

Supporting students and the local economy

If current trends continue, North Carolina could face a shortage of nearly 17,500 nurses by 2033, as EdNC’s Hannah McClellan has previously reported. Community colleges play a key role in supporting the nurse talent pipeline, as McCurdy’s career path demonstrates.

A recent economic impact analysis found that NCC contributed $86 million in income to the Nash County economy in fiscal year 2019-20. A major part of that impact comes from students like McCurdy who use the skills and knowledge they gain from the college to get good-paying jobs and open businesses in Nash County.

The report estimates that for every dollar students spend on their education at NCC, they gain $3.60 in higher future earnings, equating to an average annual rate of return of 20.9%. For nursing students, that number is $7.60 for every dollar invested, leading to 32% average annual rate of return. And for McCurdy, that number is likely even higher.

Along with the nursing scholarship, McCurdy received a Pell Grant that covered her tuition and books.

“When I graduated from Nash Community College, I was debt free,” she said. She started making $45,000 in her first clinical nursing job right out of school.

“Nash Community College has done a lot and has a lot to do with my success educationally, as well as in my career and entrepreneurship, so my hat’s always off to Nash Community College and the Small Business Center,” McCurdy said.

Molly Osborne Urquhart

Molly Osborne is the vice president and Chief Operating Officer for EducationNC.