Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tempe Grandmother Logs on to Career in Nursing

Control-Alt-Delete. Scrolling and clicking. Menus and icons. These are basic terms familiar to a majority of today’s students. In fact, current television commercials depict children using computers to download and email photos, and make mini-movies online, seemingly boasting “it’s so easy a 4-year-old can do it!”

But to Tempe resident Doris Laidlaw, a mother a five and grandmother of four, computers were a foreign concept. And that was a scary prospect for someone who wanted to go back to school and get a nursing degree.

“I was not deterred by the little fact that I knew absolutely nothing about computers,” said Laidlaw, whose lifelong goal is to become a registered nurse.

“The first time I thought about becoming a nurse was when I was 9 years old,” Laidlaw said. “My grandfather died I did not understand why he could not be saved. I wanted to learn to save someone’s life.”

Laidlaw has worked for 17 years as an LPN, and has spent the last seven years specializing in home health care nursing for special needs children.

She originally decided to pursue a nursing degree 27 years ago, taking general studies classes at various local community colleges.

“I have always planned to finish my degree, but stopped school to raise my growing family,” said Laidlaw. “Being a wife, mother, and grandmother has kept me very busy, so that traditional school wasn’t an option.”

Unfazed, Laidlaw began exploring her options, and learned about Rio Salado’s online nursing program.

“Online classes allowed me to finish my degree without totally abandoning my family,” Laidlaw said, adding there was a learning curve involved.

“At times it was very frustrating when I couldn’t figure out how to save, copy, or send something,” said Laidlaw. “I turned to my friends or classmates and they would talk me through it. I called the technical support desk so often they knew me by name!”

Laidlaw also received support from her family. “My children didn’t give me advice so much as encouragement,” she said. “They always wish me good luck when I take a test and say ‘good job’ when I pass it. They are all very proud of me.”

Laidlaw credits the flexibility and quality of Rio Salado’s program for helping her realize her dream. “I would recommend Rio because their program has state-of-the-art technology that offers technical help 24 hours a day, an online library, and tutoring,” she said. “The best part is the convenience of doing your homework anytime, anywhere and being able to make it fit your own schedule.”

Laidlaw will receive her Associate in Applied Science in Nursing degree at Rio Salado’s 2009 Commencement ceremony on May 15, 2009.

“Graduating with my RN degree is one of the most significant achievements of my life,” said Laidlaw. “Because I was 15 when I had my first child, I got my GED instead of graduating from high school. So the upcoming cap and gown experience is especially meaningful for me.”

For more information about Rio Salado’s online nursing program visit