People of the U: De’jai Nichols
Published on Monday, February 28, 2022
By: Annie Oeth, email@example.com
Editor's Note: In honor of Black History Month’s 2022 theme, Black Health and Wellness, we want to celebrate the contributions, breakthroughs and cultural richness of Black professionals and students at UMMC. See more People of the U features.
For many, studying in the Accelerated BSN program at the School of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is the start of their nursing careers. For De’jai Nichols, it’s a continuation of her health care journey.
A medical technologist in UMMC’s hospital laboratory area, Nichols was inspired to begin the year-long process of studying to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the accelerated process designed for those with four-year degrees in other disciplines.
“As part of my job, I see test results,” she said, “but as a nurse, I would see the whole scope of patient care.”
Nichols joined UMMC in 2020 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Jackson State University in 2017 and UMMC’s medical laboratory program in May 2021.
"What attracted me to the ABSN program was that it is only one year of schooling,” she said. “I like the fact that it is fast-paced and that the program is trying to produce more nurses for our community.”
Nichols grew up in a family dedicated to health care. Her father is a respiratory therapist at St. Dominic, and her mother works in childcare nutrition. Her grandmother retired from nursing after a 30-year career, and an aunt is a nurse practitioner at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her sister, Shelsie Nichols, is a medical laboratory scientist in UMMC’s hematology department.
When she’s not working or studying, Nichols relaxes by playing video games and spending time with family, friends, and her poodle and Labrador retriever. A former Jackson State J-Sette with the university’s famed Sonic Boom of the South, Nichols also enjoys dancing.
After graduation, Nichols would like to be a pediatric nurse at Children’s of Mississippi, the state’s only children’s hospital.
“I have always loved working with children and would love to contribute to any part of their lives,” she said. “I am so grateful of this opportunity and hope to inspire others who may be contemplating having more than one career.”