Skip to main content

COA Student Success Story: Lisa Sabadic Howell, Practical Nursing

A job in the healthcare field was not quite what Lisa Sabadic Howell first had in mind, but a hospital stay in 2015 had her reconsidering the career goals she had set. “I began my college career at Meredith College, but had to come home due to a major back surgery that was an ongoing complication from childhood cancer,” Howell explained. “In the hospital, I had bad nurses, good nurses and great nurses, and it made me realize nursing is where I wanted to be. I wanted to be a great nurse.”

After recovering from surgery, Howell started her prerequisites and enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at COA. While the college was affordable and close to home, as Howell resides in Kitty Hawk, they were not the only reasons she decided to enroll. “Convenience was a huge factor, but the outstanding reputation for a being a COA nurse was the biggest contributor for me. Everywhere you go, you only hear great things about COA’s nursing programs,” Howell said.

Howell graduated from COA with her practical nursing diploma in July of 2019. She began working at the Outer Banks Hospital Urgent Care – Nags Head in December 2019. Months later, Howell experienced firsthand the effects of a global pandemic on the entire healthcare community. “It has been a learning experience to say the least, but COA has taught me to be flexible, go with the flow, work as a team and always know you have something new to learn,” she shared. Howell has also continued to stay up-to-date on her credentials, renewing her Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and obtaining the Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification in 2021.

“No one is lying when they say nursing school is tough. It takes determination and a great support system,” Howell explained when asked about her education at COA. “The nursing staff goes above and beyond to make you feel like you’re a part of a team; they all want you to be your best. They teach you all the basics you need to have for a strong foundation, but they also teach you that you learn how to become a great nurse on the floor, not just in the classroom.”