Usually, going to school with your mom might be considered lame, but Destin resident Josh Calhoun said it was actually a cool experience.
On July 27, Josh and Jackie Calhoun graduated with their associates in nursing degrees from Fortis Institute in Pensacola.
“It was kinda cool having someone who's always been there for you … to support and motivate you every day (as you’re) going through something that's supposed to be super rigorous,” Josh said.
Jackie has already been an licensed practical nurse for over a decade but Josh had been in the pre-law program at Florida State.
He said when he came home the summer after his freshman year, he realized he didn’t see himself as the type who would wear a suit and tie every day and that’s when he started considering nursing.
“I saw it as a fresh start and a fresh opportunity,” Josh said about starting the nursing program. “I didn't realize that's what I wanted to do but once I got into it, I just kinda felt like it was for me. I can actually make a difference in somebody’s life doing this.”
His mom said it was a cool experience to go to school with her son but there were some challenges along the way. A few of the instructors were receptive to them being mother and son, but the pair felt like Jackie was singled out at times.
“The teachers kinda nit-picked on stuff with her, especially with her being an LPN already,” Josh said.
“Some of the teachers said they didn’t want Josh riding my coattails but if anyone knows Josh, he graduated with a 4.38 (from high school), he didn’t need to ride anybody’s coattails,” said Jackie, who lives in DeFuniak Springs.
They also couldn’t do clinical rotations or simulation classes at the same time. The only thing they could do together, outside of going to class, was practice in an open skills lab. And, believe it or not, Jackie said they never studied together.
"He (Josh) flew through the program and there was nothing that even seemed challenging for him,” she said. “He didn’t have to study, but even going into the program with my LPN, I had to study."
The mother son duo plan to continue furthering their education together and plan to get their bachelor’s and eventually master’s degrees in nursing. Jackie said she plans to continue practicing nursing and eventually become a nurse educator while Josh wants to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist, which he described as having “all the pressure of what a doctor would feel like, it's just different letters."
In the meantime, both of them have been hired by a home health company in Pensacola and plan on working and practicing as they continue their education.