Mothers & Nursing Students Reach Graduation

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Jessica Thornton and Amber Sugg are Practical Nursing students here at Sampson Community College. Thornton and Sugg share another title too, that of mom. Thornton is a mother of four children and Sugg is a mother of three children. When deciding to go back to school, these students each decided the Practical Nursing program at SCC would allow them to balance responsibilities as mothers and students. 

Thornton has worked in healthcare since 2009 as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She has always had the passion to go back to school to pursue nursing, but having a family made it difficult. Thornton started the LPN program here at SCC in 2020 and plans on finishing the program in July. After graduation, Thornton hopes to continue her nursing pathway to become a Registered Nurse (RN) and then eventually receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).  

“Jessica is a very intelligent student who is dependable and dedicated to her studies,” Kristina Cashwell, Practical Nursing Instructor stated. “Even though she has many different educational and personal commitments, she always advocates for her clients and offers them a gracious smiling face. Her devotion to learning and future profession is something that should be applauded.”

Jessica Thornton in her Sampson Community College scrubs. (Courtesy Photo)

A member of a military family, Sugg never stays in one place for too long. She decided pursuing a career in nursing would be the best fit. Before starting the LPN program here at SCC, Sugg already obtained her Certified Nursing Assistant I and II licenses. Sugg also plans to graduate this summer and hopes to eventually pursue her RN. 

Practical Nursing Instructor, Stephanie Knowles shared, “When I think of Amber the one thing that comes to my mind is that she never complains about any aspect of her nursing program. She accomplishes every task assigned to her while maintaining grades to help her progress through the program.”

Amber Sugg has been able to manage her time as both a mother and nursing student at Sampson Community College. (Courtesy Photo)

The LPN program at SCC was ranked number two in 2018 for being one of the best programs in the state of North Carolina. Those that complete the LPN program at SCC will receive a diploma in Practical Nursing. Nurses that have their LPN will have the opportunity to work in hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices among others. 

When asked about the instructors, Sugg replied, “The program is hard, but I do feel like the instructors always try to help you. At larger community colleges if you email an instructor there it is going to take you like a week to get back to you. Whereas here it is almost immediate.”

Both women knew that nursing was a career they were interested in pursuing. Nursing had always been on their radar, and helping people was a passion for both women. 

Sugg and Thornton both had a great experience as Practical Nursing students at SCC. While at SCC they have been able to meet several new people and classmates that they consider friends. At times the program has been challenging and pushed their limits, but it has provided them with great instructors and resources throughout. Most importantly both Thornton and Sugg have been prepared to step out into the world as a nurse. 

“I would say it is a great option because it allows you the flexibility, especially for adult students who have families. It has allowed me flexibility. Most of the teachers that I have had like to know about your personal life, so if you have something going on, they can be really understanding”, Thornton shared.

Jessica Thornton and Amber Sugg have learned how to balance the life of being nursing students at Sampson Community College with the duties of motherhood. Both women have worked extremely hard to get where they are and will continue to make graduation plans for this summer.

For more information about nursing programs at SCC, visit, or contact Ashley Register, Administrative Assistant for Health Programs, at or 910.900.4013.

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.