This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Rappahannock Community College. RCC graduates form the backbone of the local economy—the healthcare providers, bankers, lawyers, small business owners and trades-people. It’s hard to go through your day without being served by an RCC alum is some way. RCC’s Faces of 50 spotlights the alum, like Frances Clark.
Clark grew up in a small town in South Carolina and went off to the University of South Carolina to major in Art. But then life happened. She fell in love, got married, and moved to Montross where she realized she needed skills in order to get a job. Not really knowing what she wanted to do she took her mother’s advice (her mom and sister were nurses) to study nursing and was accepted into RCC’s nursing program.
At RCC she met Catherine Courtney, founder of RCC’s nursing program, who encouraged and nurtured her through her journey to become an RN.
“I liked the nursing program at RCC because they gave us practical, hands-on experience, not a lot of writing papers,” says Clark of her days at RCC. “Once I got my RN I worked at Tappahannock and then Mary Washington hospitals with flexible shifts so I could take care of our children.” Clark is grateful that RCC was close by and taught her to be a great nurse.
“The last 12 years of my career I worked in Interventional Radiology. They worked us hard. It’s funny but I don’t remember the easy or light days. I remember those hard days. The days you didn’t think you could make it but the interactions with the patients made it worthwhile. Simple things like washing someone’s hair, holding an elderly patient whose lungs and heart were failing, laughing and crying with them. These are the moments I recall most.”
These days Clark is on the other side as a patient herself. She’s appreciative of the excellent team of nurses she has on her side but misses being a nurse herself.
“Mrs. Courtney would be proud of me. I turned out to be a great nurse. I had a great career as a nurse and never lost a patient unexpectedly,” says Clark.
Rappahannock Community College is celebrating 50 years of breaking down barriers to education in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. Nursing is just one of the 5 degrees, 6 certificates, and 26 career studies programs offered through RCC, in addition to about 50 guaranteed admissions agreements with colleges and universities across the state and region.
Frances Clark is an alumni of Rappahannock Community College.