As a student at J.Z. George High School, Mercedes Peeples wanted to be a physical therapist and was working toward her dream until her grandmother became ill.
Peeples said she was inspired by the nurses who took care of her grandmother, and she wanted to do the same.
“When my grandmother got sick, that’s when I got a passion for nursing,” she said.
Peeples, who works for Sta-Home and covers the Carroll County area, gets to give the same care and attention that she saw given to her grandmother to others in her own county. She has been a nurse of seven years and has been with Sta-Home for six months.
Peeples began her nursing career as a licensed practical nurse, obtaining her degree from Holmes Community College in 2013. She went back to Holmes in Grenada and obtained her ADN (Associated Degree of Nursing). Peeples then went to Delta State University, where she obtained her BSN (Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing) in 2019.
Peeples said she wants to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
“To be a nurse you have to be caring and have a caring heart. You have to love what you do.” She said. Peeples said she has a lot of young girls tell her that they admire what she’s accomplished and what she does.
“They look up to me. I take pride in what I do, and I try to be a better person because I know they’re looking up to me. I try to set an example and do better. They tell me they want to become a nurse too,” she said.
As a young nurse, she’s had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. And although it’s been hard for her, as it has for everyone, she said that as a nurse you do what you have to do.
“It’s something that we never thought would happen, we’ve seen the unthinkable. We put our life at risk, but as nurses, we also have the proper equipment needed. It’s been an eye-opener, and COVID-19 is a big deal. But, we’re on the frontline, and we do what we have to do,” she said.
Peeples said a lot of their patients they see through home health don’t like going to the doctor now, but they get to see them and care for them, which is a good thing. She said she assures her patients that she’s there to help, and she educates her patients on the proper way to take care of themselves through this pandemic.
She said the best thing about working in the Carroll County area is that she gets to care for people that she’s known her whole life or those who know her mother, who worked as a CNA for Sta-Home and worked in the Carroll County area.
“I get to spread a lot of happiness,” Peeples said.
She said being a familiar face helps give her patients a sense of peace and happiness. “People have become family to me.”
Peeples and her husband, Terry, who works at Winona Elementary School, have two children, Jaterrius and Nadia, and they also own T & M Restaurant in Vaiden. T & M opened in July 2019.
“It’s been kind of hectic juggling the two,” Peeples said. “But, with my husband being out of school, he can step in more and we have a good staff, I’ll even say we have the best staff. We teach them the ropes and we have some pretty good people there and they’ve been pretty good. I’m usually in and out so I can check on them on my lunch break.”
Peeples said it’s not easy juggling between being a mom, wife, nurse, and restaurant owner but she finds the balance to do so.
“I meditate and I pray,” she said. “I pray in the mornings, I pray on the way to work, I pray before I go to a home, I pray when I get off work. I don’t let my work life interfere with my home life. When I’m off work, I’m off work and I’m at home. I’m pretty down to earth and I don’t let things steer me in the other way. I try to find a balance.”