Two-time DeKalb College/Georgia Perimeter College alumna Cindy Couture was recently awarded the 2010 Continuing Education award from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Couture, a bone marrow transplant clinical research nurse at the Aflac Cancer Center at Egleston, has worked at Children's for the past 28 years. She credits caring for her mother at an early age with inspiring her nursing career.
"My mom was sick, so I dropped out of college for a year to take care of her," Couture said. "I think I have the spirit for nursing. You have to have a lot of compassion."
Couture earned her LPN at DeKalb College, then went straight to work at Children's in 1983. Because she had two boys of her own, much of her focus was on them at the time. But in 2006 she came back to GPC to complete her RN.
"There was nothing else I could do at Children's, so I decided to go back to school," Couture said. "A friend of mine told me, 'Cindy, it's time to do this.'"
The high standards for admission combined with thorough clinical experience and accessible instructors helped her prepare for her licensing exam.
"GPC has one of the best programs for helping you pass the NCLEX," she said. "It's a scary thing when you go into those tests, and I felt extra stress because I didn't want to let Children's down."
But Couture needn't have worried about that. She now works with clinical trials involving bone marrow transplants and sickle cell anemia. The work she does gives hope to children and their families who deal with devastating diseases.
"I love working at Children's," Couture said. "Everything we do is about them, from research to care."
Couture is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing from Grand Canyon University. She plans to complete a master's degree as well.