A new life after loss


Shelbey Taylor headshot

After overcoming seemingly impossible challenges, Shelbey Taylor ’23 is ready to enjoy the life she has built through hard work, perseverance and faith. Upon completing her bachelor of science in nursing with honors, she has secured a position as a labor and delivery nurse at Catawba Valley Medical Center. In June 2023 she will marry her longtime partner and move into the home they have purchased together.

“I’ve worked all through college. I worked two jobs up until the summer before my senior year because my parents have both passed away, so it’s been on me to put myself through college,” Taylor shared. “It hasn’t been easy, and sometimes I’ve flown by the seat of my pants, but I just put my faith in God because he has always helped me work it out.”

The demands of work haven’t kept Taylor from excelling in her academics. She came to Lenoir-Rhyne as part of the Nursing Scholars Program, which granted her admission to the College of Nursing directly out of high school, contingent on completing the core degree requirements.

“It was a big reason I came to Lenoir-Rhyne, knowing I wouldn’t have to compete for a spot as long as I kept my grades up,” she said. “I’ve loved the nursing faculty and the small class sizes. To have that contact with your professors and classmates is so important, especially in a field like nursing, which is all about relationships and communication.”

Her academic performance also brought her induction into Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nurses, and an opportunity to complete honors research looking at breastfeeding efficiency.

Shelbey Taylor with graduation tassels and shawl.

“I worked with two of my closest friends who really pushed me to join the project. I don’t know where I would be without them,” Taylor shared.

Taylor’s network of friends has helped her not only with the emotional support to keep going after her mother’s death in 2018 and her father’s in 2020, but also with practical support, such as housing. She

met her fiancé in 2019, which brought a new kind of support into her life.

“He’s a fireman, and his station is actually across the street from the hospital where I work in Lincolnton,” Taylor shared. “We go to church together and look out for each other. I’m excited to get married and I’m really looking forward to having my own home after bouncing around for a while.”

Shelbey Taylor, fiance and dog in a cotton field

While her new job at Catawba Valley Medical Center will be further away from her future husband’s workplace, Taylor is eager to start the job she secured in December 2022.

“They called me with the offer while I was Christmas shopping, and I said ‘I have to call you back because I’m in a checkout line.’ You can’t have this big moment in the checkout at Marshall’s,” Taylor laughed.

Taylor gives credit to the School of Nursing and the Career Development Center for smoothing the job search process with plenty of interview and resume preparation along with recruitment opportunities. She completed her labor and delivery clinical rotation in the department where she will now start her career.

“When I saw my first delivery, I cried. It’s like a miracle helping bring life into the world. I’m really passionate about motherhood, so to help women when they’re in this very vulnerable position, but they’re also so strong, I’m excited about that.”

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