In the hospital, it is not unusual to see patients using wheelchairs. What is quite uncommon is a caregiver or a nurse using wheels. Latisha Anderson, now a 36-year-old registered nurse, has been using a wheelchair for almost two decades. A stray bullet hit her on the neck when she was just 17, rendering her paralyzed from the waist down.
At a young age, she struggled with her condition but she never gave up on living her life with a purpose. A few years after the incident, Latisha successfully finished a General Education Development course at Wake Technical Community College. The college was a bit far from her home so she had to take a bus every day a number of times to get there and back home. It was quite a challenge for her because some of the buses were not wheelchair-friendly. But Latisha was wise enough to contact beforehand Washington, D.C. for assistance.
After her GED, Latisha wanted to learn to do something more. In fact, she wanted to be a nurse. People were skeptic about it but she wanted to prove to herself and everyone around her that she can be a medical professional despite her condition.
Her desire of becoming a nurse was boosted when she read an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser featuring the life of Barry McKeown. Barry used to be a surfer until he was involved in a horrible crash. The former surfing athlete shared in the article that despite being in a wheelchair, he strove to get a degree in nursing. Luckily, his nursing career flourished and he managed to become an Intensive Care Unit staff where he helped saved the life of a patient by performing CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.
Latisha sent Barry a letter, and his reply inspired and encouraged the young woman to pursue her desire of becoming a nurse. In his letter, Barry told Latisha to get a stand-up chair so that it would be easier for her to do things.
Latisha graduated at East Carolina University with a GPA of 3.5. During her student years in the nursing program, she strove to do and perform everything other students did. She turned patients, performed CPR, hung IV fluids and accomplished other medical-related responsibilities.
Dr. Donna Roberson, one of the college professors, said that Latisha exceeded her expectations. The young lady was able to perform her roles and responsibilities well. In fact, she did better than some of the other students. Dr. Roberson also added that Latisha showed determination and great perseverance to finish the program and she is proud of her.
Today, Latisha is known as the “RN on wheels”. She would drives in her car, and upon arriving to her workplace, she assembles her wheels and rolls on. Her condition did not prevent her from becoming who she is today. In fact, it even pushed her to do more. All the criticisms and negativity she received and encountered made her even stronger, determined and motivated to roll and heal.