Hear Angel Daniels, RN, BSN, MSN, DNP, firsthand story about her incredible life journey thus far and why she has decided to never give up on her dreams.
“As I reflect on my journey into the world of health care, for me it started as a little girl playing with dolls. I gave them pretend medicine, wrapped them in torn sheets as bandages for their wounds and hoped I could do something to make them feel better. It was this calling that led me into the world of nursing. However, it was not an easy journey for me.
I grew up the youngest of three girls in the east end area of Richmond, Va. I attended Richmond Public Schools up through my first year in high school. Soon after that, my life changed. I was a teen mom and high school dropout. I felt lost but never lost hope. At 16 years old, I start attending cosmetology school to get a career and take care my daughter. By the time I was 19, I had already moved out of my parents’ home and was a mother of two.
Struggling at times and living off government assistance, I sometimes had to decide whether I was going have heat, electricity or enough food to last for a month. One day I heard a conversation pertaining to me and the person said, “Angel will never amount to anything.” That fueled my determination.
I looked at my life and wanted more not just for me, but for my children. I worked hard to finish high school and earned my GED. I worked multiple jobs starting as a certified nursing assisting and medical assistant. After teaching myself how to type and learning computer software, I landed temporary jobs for two years hoping to gain full-time employment. I would sit in my car and cry because I wanted to give up. I told my mother, “God doesn’t love me.” She cried and said, “don’t ever feel that God doesn’t love you just because things are not easy. He has a plan for you.” And she was right, he did.
In 2003, as a single mom of now three kids, I started my journey to apply to nursing school. I had to take prerequisite courses starting with basic math and pre-algebra. I felt defeated, and my daughter tutored me to help me pass these courses. I didn’t want to go to any nursing school, so I applied to Bon Secours School of Nursing. On my third attempt, I was accepted.
It was during that time I learned the true meaning of determination, inspiration and sacrifice. I worked full-time as a quality improvement specialist while attending nursing school at night and on weekends. Eventually, I had to cut my hours back from full-time to part-time and the financial struggle was devastating. But I did not give up. Studying late at night after the kids go to bed and running off three hours of sleep for two-and-a-half years.
During my time at nursing school, I was in a horrible car accident. I had to undergo three surgeries including cardiac surgery, but I refused to give up or stop attending school. My passion, dedication and drive would not allow me to give up.
In 2008, I graduated nursing school and started working at Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital in the emergency department. Our patients were from a diverse and vulnerable population and had a multitude of health needs. After working in the emergency department for several years, I accepted a job as a nurse navigator. I also became a certificated case manager. As I progressed in my role as a nurse navigator, I was promoted to clinical transformation manager.
It was during this time I wanted to keep growing and developing professionally. In pursuit of continuing my education, I earned Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science (MSN) degrees from Liberty University with a concentration in nursing education. I completed my doctoral studies in December 2016, earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Chamberlain College of Nursing with a concentration in health system leadership.
Today, I am an associate professor of nursing and curriculum coordinator of general education at Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing. I am also currently attending Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health working on a post-doctorate certificate in population health management.
At the end of the day, my children inspire me keep going and never give up. My daughter is currently following my footsteps. She is not attending nursing school, but is a single mother of two in her second year of school at Texas A&M University School of Law and is excelling in her studies.
My journey in life was not an easy road to travel, but I do not have any regrets. Just a lot of lessons learned, especially learning to never give up.”
We recently followed up with Angel to get an update on her life today! She was recently promoted to post licensure and general education program chair at Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing. She also been busy with speaking engagements and educational opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion in nursing education.
Most recently, she had the honor of speaking at DNPs of Color Virtual Conference in October, where she specifically spoke on the topic of building a diverse nurse educator workforce through diversity, equity and inclusion. Angel has been asked to present at the upcoming AACN Transform 21 conference in December on the topic of improving health equity and outcomes in diverse populations by looking upstream. She also been asked to share information to the online journal, “Clinical Advisor,” as well as an interview for the December issue of “NurseDeck,” which is the online magazine for nursing and health care.
While Angel continues to excel and achieve her professional goals, she has also been able to achieve her personal goals. She has been working diligently on her mind, body and spirit and as a result has lost 60 pounds! Angel continues to be a role model for her daughter, who is graduating in May 2022 and has received many awards, scholarships and even a job offer in Fort Worth, Texas. Her son started school in August at J. Sargent Reynold Culinary Arts Pastry Chef Program.
Here is what Angel’s daughter, Tiffany (pictured right), has to say about her mom:
“Being a first-generation law student means breaking generational curses. My mom was 15 when I was born, and as a single parent, she struggled and worked endlessly to provide for my siblings and me. As a first-generation law student and single mom, I am proof that the stigmas we attach to single black mothers are a fallacy. I have opened doors, like my mother, for my children to walk through. Thank you, mom for being a phenomenal woman, mother and grandmother.”
Thank you, Angel, for being an inspiration and for your work to improve the health and well-being of our communities. We’re so grateful for you and our other Bon Secours nurses, where nurses mean the world!
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