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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Three sisters graduate from UNCP on the same day

This story begins the same way it did almost 10 years ago in a hospital newsletter: “James Jacobs of Lumberton wears a t-shirt that reads: My wife and I have spent all the money we saved for retirement, but we’ve invested it wisely. We have four daughters, one is pre-med and three are RNs.”

The Sisters - Donna Lowry, Felicia Britt and Brigitte Laney

The Sisters - Donna Lowry, Felicia Britt and Brigitte Laney

Black Line

If Jacobs was celebrating 10 years ago, he had three more reasons to celebrate on May 4, 2013, at UNC Pembroke’s commencement. His three RNs – Brigitte Laney, Donna Lowry and Felicia Britt - graduated together with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees.

According to Lowry, the family spokesperson: “We took every class together. We had a good support system.”

This is not the first time the sisters graduated together, and it may not be the last. Ten years ago, they earned RN degrees at the same time, although from Donna graduated from Richmond Community College, while Brigitte and Felicia graduated from Robeson Community College.

They worked together at Southeastern Health in Lumberton on the third shift. That was when the article appeared in the hospital’s newsletter.

Since then, they have moved on. Donna founded Caring Touch Home Health in Pembroke, Felicia founded Carolina Hearts Home Health in Laurinburg and Bridgette works as Donna’s nursing supervisor.

The sisters decided to go into nursing from different places. Lowry, who had established herself in another career, was struck by the wonderful care her mother received while getting treatment for cancer. Felicia said she decided to become a nurse in middle school and worked as a candy striper in high school.

What is the next step for the sisters?

“We’ve been accepted to Duke University’s nurse practitioner program,” Lowry said. “We’re going to take a year off before beginning.”

It was another proud day for their parents, James and Rose, and university officials who concluded that three sisters graduating together on the same day was a first for UNCP.

Lowry said UNCP’s RN-to-BSN program, which requires advanced science and math courses among others, is rigorous but “it was a positive experience for all of us.”

“The Nursing Department at UNCP is the best,” Lowry said. “We came here because of its reputation.”

Nursing and other faculty were outstanding, she said. There was the nursing faculty member who tutored Lowry on a holiday, and math professor who allowed the sisters to attend class via Skype, so they could attend their parents 50th wedding anniversary.

They also took classes online for the first time, and, as Lowry said: “The most important lesson is to be flexible.”

“We’ve got a lot of positive momentum now and we’re ready to take the next step,” Lowry said. This is a family dedicated to healthcare and lifelong learning.

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