Ashley’s on Her Way to Her Dream Career | Broward College Office of Advancement and Broward College Foundation

Ashley’s on Her Way to Her Dream Career

Ashley Denhard


Nursing had always been on Ashley Denhard’s radar, even when she pursued and earned a degree in communications in 2006. But she never really connected to that field and instead worked as a restaurant manager. Her desire to pursue a nursing career was sparked after she had her children.

Working toward a college degree can be stressful in the best of circumstances. Add in two small children, a tight budget and 50-hour work weeks, and the difficulty soars off the charts.

“I had to manage many obstacles while in the program,” Ashley said. “My husband is a firefighter/paramedic who worked two additional jobs to make ends meet since I couldn’t work, go to school full time, and care for our two young children … and keep my sanity.”

Thanks to her faith and hard work, her husband’s unwavering support, and the academics of Broward College, Ashley Denhard, 38, is on her way to her dream career in nursing. “It was a constant juggling act trying to focus on school, clinical and family life,” she said, “but I did it!”

Ashley’s firefighter-realtor-businessman husband put in countless work hours to support the family while she worked toward completion of her degree. “Working around his schedule with my schedule during school and the children was extremely challenging,” she said.

In spite of the pressure, the Pompano Beach resident is fulfilling her dream of becoming a registered nurse. Denhard graduated this past August and was chosen by the Broward College nursing faculty to receive the Irene Fischley Award for Excellence in recognition of her outstanding academics, leadership, and character. She recently landed a position at Sanctuary Surgical Center in Boca Raton as an operating room RN. She’s being cross-trained at the facility’s post-anesthesia care unit, and she hopes ultimately to find a position in labor and delivery.

“After having my children (now aged 4 and 6) I knew I didn’t want to go back to work in the restaurant where I had spent eight years previously as a manager, and I did not want to go back to a regular office job like I had done when I first graduated from college,” she said. “The experience of labor and delivery was completely inspiring and prompted me to take a leap of faith and go back to school to become a nurse.”

Once she jumped in, she credits Broward College for putting her on a path to success. Broward College helped financially with the award of a Broward College Merit Scholarship and a Florida Blue Nursing and Health Sciences Scholarship.

“The two scholarships definitely helped because I was unable to work with two young children, my husband’s crazy work schedule, and paying for school and books,” she said.

Academically, Broward College’s nursing program gave her a strong foundation in the field, and that expertise gave her confidence in her day-to-day nursing skills.

“There are so many different occasions in which I was asked to do something or talk about an issue with a patient and understood exactly what was going on and how to handle myself,” she said.

She plans to put that confidence to work as she works to advance her nursing career. She hopes eventually to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife.

“Because of Broward College, I have gained the knowledge, skill and confidence to be the best new graduate RN possible,” she said. “The program was intense, but the high level of expectation and integrity propelled me and my fellow students to face each challenge head on. It pushed us to the top.”

“I constantly hear how pleased the hospitals are when hiring a new graduate from Broward College as we are the best of the best,” she added. “I learned so much about the world of nursing, the human condition, and more about myself than I ever thought possible.”


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The 38-year marriage of H. Collins Forman, Jr., and Jennifer Cargill Forman rests on their strong faith, love and respect for each other, and commitment to their family. The couple’s relationship started when they were students – undergrads at Broward College. If it weren’t for Broward College, said Collins, “I would not have met this most wonderful young lady, Jennifer Cargill, who became my life partner and the mother of our children, who blesses me every day.” If it weren’t for Broward College, added Jennifer, “We probably would not have met and had such wonderful children who bless our lives.”