Hannah Lancaster

An RN with a heart for missions

Because every LaGrange College Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate in the past four years has passed the national licensing exam on the first try—a feat almost unheard of at colleges and universities—this year’s class had an intense motivation to succeed, says Hannah Reeves Lancaster ’13.

“I just finished taking the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses), and the whole time I had it in my mind that I didn’t want to be the one to break the nursing program’s success streak,” she says. “The nursing program is very intense here and there’s pressure to succeed, but you can get through it because the nursing professors are so helpful and caring and prepare us for it.”

Hannah says her nursing peers also were a support system.

“It’s so rigorous that no one on else on campus really sees us; we rely on and help each other, and we’re like a family,” she says. “The professors are amazing, too. They have an open-door policy and will help you get through anything, whether it’s nursing-related or something personal. They are so supportive and encouraging, and many of them even give you their cell phone numbers so you can reach them. They love helping us, and it’s not just an obligation to them. They want to see us succeed.”

From Bremen, Hannah spent her first year of college at Harding University in Arkansas, hoping to forge her own path.

“I love the people I grew up with and have very deep relationships,” she says, “but I was ready to meet new people and have my own life and make an ‘in’ for myself somewhere else.”

She grew homesick for family and friends, in part due to the long drive, and came back to Georgia the next year looking for a nursing school a little closer to home.

“LaGrange was perfect because it was just far enough away where I could get home if I needed to yet still make my own way in college, and I also was drawn to it because of the 100 percent passing rates on the NCLEX for nursing graduates the past several years,” she said.

Hannah received the Sims Scholarship from nearby West Georgia Health to pay for her tuition and books in the nursing program. Funded by Fuller E. Callaway Foundation, the Sims Scholarship is given to nursing students in the area in exchange for their working at West Georgia Health for one to two years after they graduate, depending on the duration of their scholarship.

Hannah is now working as a registered nurse in the endoscopy and outpatient surgery departments. She commutes from Fairburn, where she lives with her husband, Zach.

Hannah and Zach have a heart for mission work and have made trips to Mexico and Kenya.

“I love the mission field, especially medical missions,” she says. “I love helping and serving people, which is why I think I was so drawn to the nursing field.”

She said their summer spent in Kenya in 2010 was especially life-changing.

“We spent five weeks as children’s camp counselors, sharing the story of Jesus with them,” she said. “We also worked with and got to know members of the Masai tribe.”

In addition, the couple helped build gutters on the sides of a church so its members could gather rainwater, built a greenhouse for the Masai tribe, went on safari and rafted the Nile.

“Some people’s situations are sad to see in other countries, but that’s a huge reason to go back,” she says. “Next time, I will really be able to put my nursing skills to use.”