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WSSU sisters take on nursing together

From left: Taneshia Poole and older sister Tavoria Poole

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) nursing students Tavoria and Taneshia Poole consider themselves more than just siblings, they are best friends as well.

Tavoria Poole is a senior on track to graduate in December. Her younger sister, Taneshia Poole, a junior, is also pursuing a nursing degree.

“I chose nursing because Tavoria chose nursing,” Taneshia Poole explains. “I really didn't know what I wanted to major in when I came to college, but I knew that I wanted to help people. I’m happy I chose nursing because I love it.”

The Poole sisters are first-generation college students from Jacksonville, North Carolina, and are the oldest of seven children. Their father is a boiler plant engineer for the Department of Defense, and mother is a home health nursing assistant. They believe that obtaining their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will set the bar higher for their younger siblings.

“We want to show them that despite adversity and challenges they may face, they can do anything they set their minds to,” says older sister Tavoria Poole.

Both consider their sisterhood a major factor in their academic success.

“Since she’s already taken the classes I’m taking, she can point out things that I should focus on,“ says Taneshia Poole. “She’s very helpful.”

Older sister Tavoria Poole adds: “You have that person who understands, that you can trust. She gets why I’m stressed, and when I’m stressed, and she’s there to say, "Just breathe.’”

Tavoria Poole says that her paving the way is only 40 percent of her sister’s success in nursing. 

“She has great work ethic,” she says. “She’ll wake up at 8 o’clock in the morning and head to the library to study. I’m like, ‘Girl, I will see you there at 1.’ ”

Although both sisters are pursuing careers in nursing, they are interested in different specializations.

Younger sister Taneshia Poole hopes to become a labor and delivery nurse. Tavoria Poole, however, sees herself as the go-to person with a good spirit that makes sure everyone is fine. She hopes to start her nursing career on the surgical medical floor.

The sisters credit their professors for helping them succeed in college. Taneshia Poole says Dr. Tori Brown, assistant professor of nursing, encouraged her through her first semester as a nursing student. 

“Dr. Brown was so supportive during the summer, which was challenging,” she says. “She would send us emails every Monday with a really inspiring quote. She would always say that we can do this. You come to college and you know you want to make something out of yourself, but sometimes you just need that push. Our professors were really supportive.”

Tavoria Poole came close to not attending WSSU but after being persuaded by a former WSSU student and some friends from her home church, she decided to apply. She now says it was the best decision. 

“WSSU chose me,” she says. “This is the best decision I ever made. The feel is just good. I like the small classrooms, the teacher-student relationships, and the student-teacher ratio, especially. I love WSSU.” 

WSSU, no. 1 in North Carolina for graduating Black students in the field of nursing, offers a number of paths for students seeking a bachelor’s degree. The program ranks as one of the top 10 programs on the East Coast, according to http://NurseJournal.org. For more information, please visit http://www.wssu.edu/nursing

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