Jill Harper

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Jill Harper

Jill Harper started her journey in patient care with animals as a Kennel Assistant, and over the years she worked up to an Inpatient Animal Nurse. Working with animals was enjoyable, but she wanted to follow her passion to provide patient care to people in a medical hospital setting. Jill’s goal was to become a Registered Nurse.  She spoke with a high school friend that works as a Registered Nurse, and her friend’s words of encouragement gave Jill the inspiration to push forward with her goal. With careful research, she weighed the various options of pursuing an education and career as a Registered Nurse, and she realized that meeting her goal would provide a better life for her family.

Just as Jill started completing prerequisite classes towards her nursing degree at Lewis and Clark Community College, she faced the process of divorce. This life changing event impacted her greatly emotionally and financially. But the divorce didn’t prevent her from moving forward with her goal. Jill had to make some big adjustments concerning living expenses and child care.

As a single mother of two children, Jill encountered financial hardships and didn’t have the financial means to complete a costly Register Nurse training program. She applied to the federal financial aid program to receive assistance with paying for her prerequisite courses. Jill quickly realized that her financial aid will not be enough to cover and complete the core courses in the nursing program.  She remembered that her ex-husband participated in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in 2008. The program assisted him in paying for his CDL Class “A” License. Jill contacted her local WIA office to inquire about the assistance with training. After complete the initial eligibility process, Jill attended an educational workshop to obtain the WIA program requirements and paperwork. Jill completed the necessary paperwork and received approval to pay for her Register Nurse Program at Lewis and Clark Community College.  

Jill applied to and received social service benefit programs like public assistance and CHASI to offset the cost of food and daycare. She continued work as an animal nurse part-time to cover housing and utilities. Jill was able to successfully balance family, home, school and work over a period of two years. Jill completed her Associates Degree in Nursing in May 2015 and passed her NCLEX in September 11, 2015.   She started full time employment at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center as a Registered Nurse on September 29, 2015. In her new position as a Registered Nurse, Jill has doubled her income and is able to sufficiently provide for her family.


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