Rosanna Boucher is becoming a registered nurse this month, but she has already been a nurse to some of the most important patients she will ever have.
In 2002, Boucher had to have an emergency caesarean section, giving birth to premature twins who spent nine weeks in the hospital fighting for their lives. When Boucher and her husband brought the twins home, the medical consequences lingered.
Daughter Allie had seizures that were so violent that she would stop breathing, and son Konnor was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 years old.
The Boucher family’s medical problems were not over. In 2005, Boucher’s husband, Ray, was diagnosed with melanoma. Should the worst happen, the Bouchers knew that Rosanna could not support herself and the twins alone on her salary.
"We really had to re-evaluate us as a family, looking at ‘what if?’" Boucher said.
She had always wanted to become a nurse and her husband suggested that now may be the time.
"He encouraged me to follow my dream and that’s how I came to be in the nursing program," Boucher said.
She added, "God bless my husband, I can’t tell you how supportive he’s been. My husband has carried us through financially and psychologically."
Her husband’s melanoma was removed, but Boucher stayed in the nursing program, surprising herself with her abilities.
"I’ve been drawn to nursing my whole life but I never thought I was smart enough to get into a program," she said.
With focus and hard work, Boucher found that she belonged in the nursing program after all. "I was close to a straight-A student and it was shocking," she said.
Boucher’s fears that she could not succeed academically were deep-seated. Before she came to America in 1987, she lived as one of nine siblings in a small town in Ireland. She did not apply herself in high school and didn’t consider herself to be college material. She was pressured to get married young and start a family rather than pursue an education.
When two of Boucher’s sisters had children outside of marriage, a strict taboo in their close-knit and devoutly Catholic community, Boucher found that she was a sort of pariah in her town – guilty by association.
"I was branded and I needed a new fresh start," she said.
She found it in a newspaper ad placed by a Jamestown family with partial ownership of an Irish shellfishing company. The family was looking for a nanny to work at their home in America and Boucher jumped at the chance to get away.
"I hopped on a plane with 40 bucks and a suitcase," she said.
Now 40 years old, with a family and about to become a registered nurse, Boucher seems to have made the right decision. Allie and Konnor’s medical problems have subsided, with Konnor having received early intervention treatment in time to make a significant difference with his autism.
"You would never know it; he looks like a normal 6-year-old boy," Boucher said.
Boucher said she has enjoyed her time at CCRI and is looking forward to starting her new career.
"It’s been a wonderful experience in general," she said. "I’ve been very fortunate to have the best instructors that CCRI can offer, so I’m very lucky that happened to me."
Boucher said she is planning to continue her education and receive a bachelor’s degree. She would be interested in many paths in nursing, from hospital care to training other nurses in new technology. Her dream job is to work in end-of-life care for terminal patients, making the patients comfortable and helping families to let go. She doesn’t have a job lined up yet, but said she will bring her résumé to one health care institution every day until she is hired.