Stories and Testimonials

Tamiya Ferguson

'Road Warrior' Earns Nursing Degree

Tamiya Ferguson
Tamiya Ferguson

As a mother of three children, Tamiya Ferguson quickly learned about sacrifice and dedication. When the Hawthorne resident was accepted into the Western Nevada College nursing program, she knew fulfilling the goal would require sacrificing time with her family, on a scale that most would not be able to handle.

With the closest nursing program 125 miles away in Carson City, Ferguson realized that her family would see little of her on days she commuted to the college. During the most intense part of the program, Ferguson drove to Carson City four days in a row, roughly 1,000 miles a week.

"With us living so far away, no matter who drives, it's still 4 1/2 hours of driving time on top of my time in Carson. But it's important to be home in the evenings to see my kids, even if it's for an hour," she said.

The demands of the academically rigorous program also meant sacrificing family time on days when she wasn’t commuting to WNC. "Even when I'm home, the nursing program is pretty intense," she said. "I'm studying on those days."

Ferguson was able to split up some of the driving demands and high fuel costs by carpooling with fellow nursing students from Yerington, Fallon and Fernley. Sometimes it meant driving 57 miles to Yerington and meeting another student, then sharing a vehicle for the 32-mile commute to Silver Springs, where they'd meet up with a student from Fallon and another from Fernley. From there, they'd hop into one car for the final 36-mile ride to Carson City. After classes, the carhopping would begin again.

After graduating from Mineral County High School in Hawthorne, Ferguson became a certified nursing assistant. She took classes online while working full-time and tending to her first child. Ferguson took some courses at WNC's Fallon campus before being notified in 2010 of acceptance into the nursing program.

"I knew then that I was going to have to commute to Carson, but we've made it work," she said.

"She's had a huge expense, unbelievable commitment, and never complains," said Dr. Judith Cordia, director of the nursing program. "She's one of the gems who will make a wonderful nurse because of those qualities."

"Her attention to punctuality, preparedness for patient assignments/care and evidence of patient centered care and advocacy have gained my respect, and I hold her in high esteem," said Nursing Professor Edda Gibson. "She delivers highly focused and holistic patient care with total patient satisfaction and accolades."

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without my husband and three kids," Ferguson said. Now, she has the satisfaction of being a stellar role model for her children. "It will show them that they can do it, and I will be the first one in my family to get a degree."

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