Grad’s challenging journey led to dream job

Nicole David

It may be difficult imagining a rejection letter as the centerpiece for a college success story, but the one Nicole Davis received more than a decade ago fueled her childhood dream of becoming a nurse.

Davis’s mother inspired her journey into a career of helping people. She was a nurse, which gave Davis a front-row seat to a nursing career that was equal parts challenging and rewarding. “I saw how dedicated my mom was to caring for people and how happy it made her,” Davis recalled. “Because of that, I knew I wanted to work in health care.”

Initially, Davis thought her future in health care would be in dentistry. It was a field she considered after taking a health course during her senior year of high school. After high school, she went to college, graduated and began applying to dental schools.

Unfortunately, she didn’t have high enough grades, and her application was rejected.

“I went to college and dealt with some really hard things, which is why my grades suffered,” Davis explained. Her mother, the inspiration behind her health care journey, passed away during her freshman year of college.

After a tumultuous time, Davis reevaluated her career goal. She decided to pursue the dream she formulated as a child and follow in her mother's footsteps to become a nurse. After yet another attempt at professional school was rejected, Davis decided to retake courses at a community college. She also became a high school biology teacher. She felt those steps would give her the foundation needed to pursue nursing.

Seven years after that initial rejection to nursing school, she reapplied. The culmination of her teaching experience, retaking courses and earning a master’s degree along the way, led to a different outcome: she was accepted into nursing school. In fact, several nursing schools.

Davis ultimately chose Texas Woman’s University at Dallas because of the program’s reputation and nursing certification exam (NCLEX) pass rate.

After achieving a goal that took almost a decade to reach, she faced another hardship. During her second semester of the nursing program, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Instead of taking time off from nursing school, she decided to push through and continue her journey.

“Nursing is really what was giving me hope,” Davis said. “The idea that this degree was going to allow me to pursue the career I've been wanting for so long made me not want to stop.”

Despite the adversity, she persevered. Last summer she graduated from TWU cancer free, and began a job at Children’s Medical Center.

“I don't have words to explain it,” she said, recalling her journey. “This all kind of feels like a dream.”

Page last updated 5:08 PM, February 28, 2023