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Nursing Is Career of Choice for Family


In addition to their family bond and friendship, Betty Alexander and her two daughters, Vicki Aldridge and Paula Pittman, share something special - their educational training and career. All three of them completed the nursing program at Okefenokee Technical College and work in the healthcare field.

“Okefenokee Technical College and Dr. Shirley Miller changed my life,” explained Betty. “I guess Vicki was around twelve when I made the decision to go back to school,” Betty began. I had worked in several local factories and at my dad’s insurance agency, but I really wanted to be a nurse,” explained Alexander. “My dad fully supported my decision, and I have not regretted it. OTC has been good to my family.” Nursing Family

Right out of high school, Vicki knew that she wanted a career in healthcare. She wanted to get her CNA license, but she didn’t want to attend classes by herself. So Vicki thought about her sister, Paula. Paula, however, was not keen on the idea, but sister Vicki was relentless and dragged Paula along.

Around 2002, after completing the CNA program, Vicki applied for the OTC nursing program and was accepted. This time, she couldn’t talk Paula into going with her. But Paula eventually decided to apply, and mom and sister attended Paula’s graduation earlier this year. Today, Paula is glad that Vicki persuaded her to go on these career and educational pursuits because, though it’s not always easy, she enjoys helping others and working at Bay View Nursing Home in Nahunta.
Vicki credits Theresa Cox Henry with encouraging her to apply for the practical nursing program. “As an instructor, she was tough, but fair,” Vicki recalled. Now, Vicki and her mom have enrolled in an RN program and look forward to learning more and earning more. Vicki credits her mom and Andy Brannen, OTC vice president for economic development, with helping her make the decision to pursue her RN.  

Betty taught medical assisting classes as an adjunct instructor at Okefenokee Tech for two years before taking a full-time position with Bay View. Betty worked with the medical assisting program director, Debbie Downs, to jumpstart the medical assisting program. Vicki is currently the full-time dual enrollment health occupations instructor for Pierce and Clinch Counties, teaching CNA classes for Okefenokee Technical College.

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