She grew up in Kermit, Texas and graduated from Kermit High School. He grew up in
the Republic of Zambia and graduated from boarding school in that country. Today,
Jessica and Fukamanji Sikazwe are married Nurse Practitioners (NPs) working in the
Permian Basin healthcare industry. They both say that they owe their professional
careers and their marriage to Midland College.
“I came to the U.S. from Zambia in 2005 because I wanted to go to college in the U.S,”
Fukamanji explained. “I googled ‘Best Community Colleges,’ and Midland College was
in the top 10. I then looked at the communities where each of the top 10 colleges
was located, and the community and climate of Midland appealed to me. So, at the
age of 18, I left my homeland and moved to Midland.”
Jessica, on the other hand, took a more traditional West Texas route to Midland College.
After graduating from Kermit High School in 2002, she followed her older sister to
“I was a typical college student,” Jessica said. “I lived in O’Shaughnessy Residency
Hall and was active in Students in Philanthropy. Fukamanji also lived on campus in
the dorms, but we didn’t know each other. We both went through the Vocational Nursing
program, but it wasn’t until we started taking classes together in the Associate Degree
Nursing program that we met each other.”
Both Jessica and Fukamanji have served in the healthcare industry in numerous capacities.
They each obtained a Certified Nurse Aide designation from Midland College and then
worked at Manor Park while pursuing advanced nursing credentials. Fukamanji also
worked part-time in the college’s maintenance department and at the front desk in
the college’s residence halls.
“Jessica and I each worked our way through nursing school as Nurse Aides and then
LVNs before graduating from Midland College in 2009 with an Associate of Applied Science
degree in Nursing.” Fukamanji explained. “We then passed the NCLEX licensure exam,
and then both started working as Registered Nurses [RNs].”
Jessica began her nursing career 17 years ago. She has worked for Manor Park, Home
Hospice, and Texas Oncology in Odessa.
Fukamanji has held numerous nursing positions. He has worked at Midland Memorial
Hospital, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital and for six years in the Emergency
Department at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
In 2010, the couple got married and while working as RNs, they continued their educations.
In 2014, Jessica graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Fukamanji, on the other hand, received his
bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Sul Ross State University, where he was able
to remain in Midland and take Sul Ross courses on the MC main campus.
“I had considered going to medical school,” Fukamanji said. “However, I really enjoy
working as a nurse and decided that I could help just as many people, if not more,
by being a nurse.”
In 2018, Fukamanji decided to begin working on a graduate Nurse Practitioner degree
from UTEP, and one semester later, Jessica embarked on the same path. Both continued
working in Midland/Odessa healthcare while taking online courses and performing clinical
training in the area. Fukamanji received a Master of Science degree in Nursing with
an NP specialization in 2020, and Jessica graduated as an NP in 2021.
As NPs, Jessica and Fukamanji see patients and manage their overall care; order, perform
and interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays; diagnose and treat acute
conditions while emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention; and prescribe
medications and other treatments. Today, many Americans use NPs for much of their
healthcare needs, and NPs are a vital component of the modern healthcare system. Expectations
are that NPs will become even more crucial to healthcare delivery. The Bureau of
Labor Statistics projects a 52 percent job growth for NPs between 2020 and 2030.
Jessica has remained employed at Texas Oncology, now working as an NP.
“My best friend passed away with cancer at the age of 26,” Jessica explained. “I
guess that’s why I chose oncology as my specialty. Her strength, courage and perseverance
during her cancer journey inspired me. Even on bad days, she still found strength
within herself to FIGHT.” My patients with cancer have taught me to appreciate life
and be grateful for every day.”
Fukamanji began his NP career working in General Medicine for Texas Tech Health Sciences
at the Jenna Welch Center in Midland. For the past three months, he has worked for
Synergy Integrative Medical Clinic in Midland as a nurse practitioner under the direction
of Dr. Anjana Rastogi.
“We certainly didn’t start out thinking we would one day be nurse practitioners,”
Fukamanji said. “However, as we progressed in our nursing careers, we realized that
as nurse practitioners, we can provide high-quality health care. I want to help my
patients with their overall health. I feel that it’s important to take my time when
I see patients and learn as much as possible about them so that I can truly understand
underlying conditions. Jessica and I will always be grateful for that initial nursing
training we received at Midland College where we learned our basic nursing skills
and how to care for patients. I still think of the staff and professors at Midland
College as family.”
Even though Jessica and Fukamanji work hard at their respective careers, they still
make it a habit to be home most evenings so that they can have dinner together. When
they get time off from their jobs, they enjoy traveling and are planning a trip to
the Cayman Islands soon to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary.