Student story: A passion for helping others

By Sophavid Choum-Starkey

Analyn McCoy is dedicated to nursing in Roseburg, 6,000 miles from her hometown

“I love taking care of other people. I always have.”

Analyn McCoy, a nursing student at Umpqua Community College (UCC), was born and raised in the Philippines. She grew up with very limited resources, not even having access to basic commodities such as water, electricity and medical care.

In 2005, McCoy came to the United States to join her husband and start a new life in California, and in 2011 moved to Roseburg, Oregon. She began her first job as a caregiver. It was there she discovered her passion for helping other people, especially the elderly.

“When I was a kid, I told my grandma that when she got older, I would take care of her. That was my promise to her,” McCoy said.

Unfortunately, McCoy’s grandmother passed away. Though she was not able to take care of her grandma as promised; becoming a nurse, she would be able take care of other people, especially the elderly in her grandmother’s honor.

“UCC is the first college I have ever experienced in my life that supports students and personalizes each student’s concerns. The instructors and advisors at UCC are there for us and they are willing to sit one-to-one to help students to be successful. You just need to ask them and they are more than willing to help you,” McCoy said.

After almost two decades of living in the U.S., McCoy has never taken things for granted. Her childhood in poverty helps her to look at life differently than other people. “I did not realize that I had a hard life when I was growing up until I compared it to my life now. It is really a big difference,” McCoy said. “I was 24 years old when I came to the U.S. All these years I did not regret all that I have gone through in life; instead, I value them.”

After moving to Roseburg, McCoy quickly progressed from being a caregiver to finding a career path to becoming a nurse. UCC enabled her to study and advance her knowledge. As an immigrant, English and math had been barriers in her college journey. But with motivation and support from her instructors and advisors, she received her certified nursing assistant (CNA) certificate and is now a second-year nursing student at UCC.

McCoy has bigger plans for her career. Her next step is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing through the Oregon Transfer Degree program. She is hoping to work on the Progressive Care Unit floor where she can provide the most support by using knowledge and skills she has learned at UCC.

“Getting my nursing degree here at UCC will double my current salary. It will help tremendously,” she said.

McCoy also works part-time at Mercy Hospital and juggles in a busy family life while taking care of her own children. In 2021, McCoy was given First Year Registered Nursing Outstanding Student award by the UCC Nursing faculty.

“The nursing program at UCC is really awesome. The instructors are always there to help me,” McCoy said. “Last year, for example, I know it was really hard for everybody when the pandemic first hit. Many schools were closed but UCC was able to open the school, the clinical part where nursing students were able to continue clinical practice and outreach. UCC accommodates students’ needs and they facilitate us to be successful.”

The article was originally published here.

Sophavid Choum-Starkey

is an international student at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.