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When Felicia Miley was a teenager growing up in Paris, France, she followed one of the typical upper-secondary pathways for French students and earned a vocational baccalaureate degree. She joined a major bank as an executive secretary, but by age 25, she felt compelled to do something bold: move to the United States. She explored ways she could do so and discovered the U.S. State Department’s au pair program. In 2006, Felicia moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, to meet her new host family.


A New Adventure

Felicia cared for her host family’s children full-time and took classes at a community college at night as part of the au pair program. She improved her English and earned a General Education Development (GED) diploma. After two years with her host family, she returned to Paris in 2008, where her previous bank employer took her back.

In Charlotte, Felicia had also fallen in love—and her boyfriend proposed after she had returned to Paris during a fall visit. Her planned two-year American adventure took a happy and unexpected turn. She permanently moved to the United States in the fall of 2008, and the couple bought a home in Dallas, Texas. Felicia began the process of receiving a permanent resident Green Card so she could start working. However, Felicia’s French vocational degree and work experience did not qualify her for jobs in the U.S. After a few frustrating months of searching, she set out to make a career change. “My mother-in-law is a nurse and told me that she thought I’d make a great nurse,” says Felicia, who has several aunts who are nurses too. The suggestion ignited a spark, and she enrolled at El Centro College to take prerequisite classes. In 2011, she was accepted into the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program.


A Nursing Degree and a Patient Pursuit

While pursuing her nursing studies, Felicia became pregnant. Her daughter was born in December 2012, and she completed the ADN in December 2013. Her husband’s career took the family back to North Carolina. Shortly after passing the NCLEX, she became pregnant again. Her identical twin boys were born in March 2015, and in 2016, her youngest son was born. As hard as she had worked to become a nurse, motherhood was her most important job for the time being.

Once her children were all in elementary school, Felicia was eager to get back to what she had started. She had kept up the continuing education requirements to maintain her nursing license and enrolled in an RN refresher course in 2019 offered through the North Carolina Board of Nursing. In early 2020, she completed a preceptorship with Novant Health. And then the COVID pandemic hit. “I had invested so much time and energy into my plans, but I had four young children in school,” she says. “I stayed home to support them in online school as we all navigated the pandemic.”


A Chance at Atrium Health Cabarrus

By 2021, her children were back to in-person school and hospitals were hiring again. Felicia was ready with her résumé. She applied at every hospital and clinic in her area and was given a chance by Atrium Health Cabarrus, where she joined the new graduate nursing program. “I was so very happy,” says Felicia. “With my manager’s support, I worked hard at it.” She joined the intermediate pulmonary care unit, which had converted into a COVID unit during a wave that led her hospital to accept patients from four neighboring states. This unit later became the new progressive care unit. It was an intense, fast-paced way to learn, but Felicia was determined to learn and make a difference during the COVID crisis.


Back to School for a Bachelor’s Degree

After just one year of working, Felicia felt she needed to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). She was even more motivated when her team received the DAISY Team Award in the spring of 2022. “I had a lot to learn, but the more I learned, the more confident I felt in what I was doing,” she says. “That award confirmed that I wanted to keep learning.”

Felicia researched online BSN programs that would help her meet her goals and found American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Post University. She liked the affordability and flexibility of the SIMPath® program, which allowed her to work at her own pace and submit assignments in a variety of formats, from written papers to videos to presentations. Felicia started the BSN with SIMPath® in July 2022.


Driven to Become the Best Possible Nurse

In early 2023, Felicia was promoted to Clinical Nurse in the progressive care unit. She worked hard in school, completing the final course of the BSN as a traditional class. Felicia finished her degree in November 2023, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

In many ways, Felicia feels like she’s playing catch-up on her new career. She is more motivated than ever and plans to earn certification in progressive care and hopefully become a mentor to new nurses at Atrium Health. “There are a lot of areas I’d love to explore,” she says. “I could see myself becoming a supervisor because I love helping other nurses.”

The journey to nursing has been a winding path with a few detours. Today, Felicia is exactly where she wants to be. “I am so grateful and glad I did this program,” she says. “I want to be the kind of nurse I’d want to have as a patient. Mostly, I want to be the best, safest nurse I can be.”