Lovel Lockhart has a plethora of reasons why she studied humanities, with specialties in history, religion and ethics, and then became a nurse.
It's partly because the care of nurses has made all the difference in the world for her older sister, who suffered severe injuries in an accident that left her unable to use her left side. It's because another sister is a nurse practitioner.
And it's because she came to this country from the Commonwealth of Dominica intent on getting an excellent education and helping those whose struggle to find access to affordable health care.
“My angle was always to be a nurse,” said Lockhart, 22, a Jackson resident who has just earned her bachelor of science in nursing.
Dominica, she said, is “15 degrees above the equator in between the two French-speaking islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean.” English is the primary language in Dominica; Creole is the secondary language.
Dominica is located north of Venezuela and southeast of Puerto Rico
She began prerequisite nursing studies at the University of Mississippi before transferring to Florida State University, where she finished those courses in addition to studying humanities.
“I chose a major that gave me enough leeway to finish my nursing prerequisites,” she said. “I have a really deep love for history and learning about the different cultures in religion.”
She applied to UMMC, Lockhart said, “because it has one of the best programs, and offers so many opportunities to find your niche in nursing. I only heard great things about UMMC. I said, 'That's the place for me.'”
Lockhart says getting hands-on practice in nursing here, combined with her volunteer service, feeds her passion for front-line care. “UMMC always gave us access to individuals who are an underserved population,” she said. “I love the fact that UMMC caters to them. UMMC gave me my goal in life - to help the people who need help the most, but who aren't getting it.”
“Lovel is such a wonderful student. She displays kindness and caring in her interactions with patients,” said Dr. LaDonna Northington, professor of nursing. “She genuinely seeks to make them better, whether through her nursing skills or just offering them her beautiful smile. I'm certain that she will be an awesome asset to the profession of nursing and all those in her care.”
The School of Nursing requires students to put in eight hours of community service per year. “I've done probably 75 hours or more in the two years I've been here,” Lockhart said. “When you start volunteering and see the smiles on people's faces, and know that you made a difference, it makes you want to do it more and more and more.”
That's just one of the reasons Lockhart will shine in the nursing community, Northington said.
“Lovel is a great student and embodies the meaning of caring. Her calm demeanor and compassionate spirit is displayed in her interactions with her patients,” Northington said. “She is also very intelligent.”
Soon, Lockhart and her fellow nursing graduates will be taking the National Council Licensure Examination. For now, she said, her first dream job straight out of nursing school would be working in UMMC's neuroscience ICU.
“But I haven't applied there,” Lockhart said. “I'm waiting until I graduate. I want to have all my eggs and ducks in a row.”