Alyssa Tucker DSC3940

Press Release                                                                           

Date: May 9, 2023

Contact: Lisa Garrett,

By Lisa Garrett

Nursing Graduate Viewed Health Care from Two Perspectives – as Student and Patient

PENDLETON, SC – Alyssa Tucker had a view of health care from two different perspectives over the past few years at Tri-County Technical College (TCTC) -- as an associate degree nursing student – and as a cancer patient.

Tucker, who received her degree at TCTC’s spring commencement May 9, said after moving with her family from Michigan to the Upstate in 2018, she initially planned to study physical therapy. She was working at a fitness center as a physical trainer when a client experienced a medical emergency and being CPR-certified, Tucker began to administer CPR. “It was the first time I had ever performed CPR on a patient,” she said. The fire department arrived and took over. Tucker said, “That’s when it clicked for me.  I thought about it all day.  That’s what changed things for me.”  A certified nurse aide (CNA). and a graduate of Muskegon Community College in Michigan, Tucker reassessed her career goals and enrolled in the nursing program at TCTC. She attended on a workforce scholarship while working part time at AnMed as a CNA. She graduates debt free.

It was in December of 2021, during a routine check-up, that cervical cancer was discovered and a biopsy revealed that surgery was needed. Tucker, who was 21 at the time, wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, but had suffered from endometriosis for years. “The cancer was caught very early,” said Tucker, who underwent several procedures that semester.

Her circumstances prompted her to speak out about early cancer detection. “In class when the instructor was talking about cervical cancer in the OB-GYN class, I shared my story. I emphasized to my fellow students the importance of annual physicals and routine check-ups. If I hadn’t been on top of it, doctors wouldn’t have caught it early.  Don’t forget about yourself,” she said. 

She said her nurse practitioner inspired her to consider being an OB-GYN nurse and the interest intensified as she dealt with her own medical issues.  “My doctor is compassionate and treated me like an intelligent human being and helped me to put everything into perspective.” 

She says she also wants to model herself after her nursing instructor and academic advisor Stacy Smith, whom she calls “my saving grace. I shared my health struggles with her and she kept me going. She is a ray of sunshine and she can make any day brighter. She is passionate about teaching and made me want to learn the content.  Instructors at TCTC want to see you succeed.  They connect with you on an emotional level.  I’ll definitely keep in touch with her and other instructors after graduation.”

“I was lucky to meet Alyssa at the beginning of her nursing school journey. Getting to know her was effortless,” said Smith. “Part of being a nurse is creating relationships with your patients based on trust. Alyssa is easy to connect with. She was confident in her goals and willing to work for them. When Alyssa shared her cancer story during my class, it was moving. She was able to use her personal experience to advocate for others. I believe that her courage to tell her story will benefit others and quite possibly save their lives.  Alyssa’s sensibility and professionalism will continue to help her to grow and become an amazing nurse,” said Smith.

With her health in check, Tucker said she was able to take a deep breath and focus on graduating and getting a job.

“I feel prepared for the workforce because of TCTC.  I found out during my clinicals that TCTC nurses are held in high regard because of our clinical training,” she said.   

Following state board exams, she plans to move to North Carolina where she has accepted a job at Advent Health in Hendersonville. She and her fiancé plan to marry in 2024.

About Tri-County Technical College

Tri-County Technical College, a public two-year community and technical college serving Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties in South Carolina, enrolls more than 9,000 students annually and offers more than 70 major fields of study, including computer technology, business administration, mechatronics, nursing, and university transfer programs. Tri-County boasts the highest student success rate among two-year colleges in the state and ranks in the top one percent nationally for successful student transfers to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit