Ever since she was a child, Queeneth Jones has dreamed of helping others. Her mother was a nurse, and Jones admired how her mother’s patients appreciated her work.
“If I could do anything to affect someone’s life so much, even one patient at a time, that would be good enough for me,” Jones said.
As a collegiate athlete at Kansas State University, Jones put her nursing ambitions on hold and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education. She worked as a teacher in an underserved area of Palm Beach County, where a student encouraged her to pursue her dream.
“She said, ‘We have nursing schools here so do it.’ I started researching and realized she was right,” Jones said.
Jones took the required prerequisite classes and applied to UF’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
“If I was going to go, I was going to go to the best in the state,” she said.
As a student in the accelerated program, Jones learned how to balance her time between studying and her two young children, Ariyah and Brianna. Her daughters live in Orlando with their father while Jones spent weekdays in Gainesville. The separation from her family was a challenge, but one she hopes will be worth the sacrifice.
“You have to make those kinds of decisions and wonder if the sacrifice is for the greater good,” Jones said. “Is my tenacity to help someone else overshadowing my role as a mother? It’s challenging, but if you prioritize, you’ll succeed.”
She received a scholarship from the UF College of Nursing that significantly eased the financial stress on her family. Funded by the Helen Fuld Gift Fund, the scholarship helped pay for her tuition and books.
“There were a lot of costs I didn’t anticipate,” Jones said. “Having that burden pop up unexpectedly creates emotional and psychological stress. The scholarship helped tremendously.”
Now a DNP student, where she will focus on psychiatry, she knows graduate school will be a challenging experience.
“I’m used to be in challenging situations and prefer to rise to the occasion,” Jones said. “As a nurse, you face that on a daily basis when you’re faced with a patient’s life. In that case, it affects people on a larger scale.”