The Baltimore County resident enrolled in the nursing education program at Howard Community College (HCC) and last spring, took her first classes toward becoming a registered nurse.
Little did Broaddus know the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) was about to hit, impacting her both academically and personally.
Her mother, who helped care for Broaddus’s two sons while she worked at an area nursing home and attended HCC classes, contracted COVID-19 in April.
“My mom was in the hospital for two months,” she said. “It took a toll on me.”
Initially, Broaddus tried to juggle caring for her young children, working and studying. But she quickly realized managing all three was just not possible. She took leave from her job. Then, she turned to HCC for support.
She received it through the Howard Community College Educational Foundation (HCCEF) COVID-19 Response Helping Hands Fund. The fund, created after the campus switched to remote learning in March, helped students with food purchases since they could no longer access HCC’s on-campus food pantry or participate in the food voucher program through the cafeteria. It also provided money for unforeseen daily living costs like increased bills for additional data coverage, car repairs and transportation.
“At the time, I couldn’t even make it up to HCC to the food pantry,” Broaddus said. “So, the money helped me put additional groceries in the house and just to keep afloat with no money coming in.”
Broaddus also used the money for gas and to pay for data on her cell phone, which she used regularly to talk with hospital nurses caring for her mother.
“It was really appreciated,” she said. “With everything being shut down, I didn’t know how I was going to survive.”
As her mother’s illness continued, Broaddus asked her HCC professors for guidance.
“They told me the best thing would be to take medical leave and then reapply to the nursing program,” she said. “That’s what I ended up doing.”
Broaddus will return to HCC this fall to resume her nursing studies, and she plans to graduate by 2021. Her family’s recent experience with COVID-19 made her determined to “finish strong,” she said.
“I want to be an ICU nurse on the front lines, just like the nurses who helped my mom,” she said. “The nurse I spoke to made sure to update me every day, every step with my mom… She was like my mom’s angel watching over her when I couldn’t be there. That is my goal, to be an angel for other families because I know what it meant to me.”
And she has some advice for students in similar situations due to the pandemic.
“Don’t be scared to ask for help,” she said, “Some people have so much pride. But me, when I opened my mouth and asked for help, HCC stepped in and gave me help when help was needed. When you need it, you have to ask for it because closed mouths don’t get fed.”