"It took me 14 years before making the decision to return to school for a career. I began by taking courses at the junior college and then applied for admission into a nursing program."

Role Model Photo Carmen Vela

Health Field: Registered Nurse

Number of years in the profession:
10 year

Years in College: 10 years

Professional Credentials:

How did you know this career was what you wanted to do?
I knew that I wanted to help people. I began researching two possibilities, teaching and nursing. I came to the conclusion that with either I would be able to help. I decided that through nursing I would be able to help more people, especially my family if they ever became ill.

What other careers did you consider?
Teaching, I had some teachers that made a difference in me and I wanted to be like them.

What experiences in your life developed your interest in your career?
Personal experiences with illness and lack of resources. It was hard to get to the doctor when your family could not afford to go. Alot of the times we were ill, we just toughed it out.

What early preparations did you take (in high school and college) to reach your career goal?
It took me fourteen years before making the decision to return to school for a career. I began by taking courses at the junior college and then applied for admission into a nursing program.

What things did you find to be difficult as you prepared for your career?
There were several things that made it difficult to prepare for entering my career choice. First, I was a non-traditional student (older), second, financially, my husband worked two jobs so that I would not have to work full-time while in school, and finally I found it very difficult to do the math and science since my exposure to these while in high school was very limited. At this time I was also the mother of two children.

How did you overcome these challenges?
Fabulous support from my husband and family. My husband worked two jobs so that I would not have to work full-time, he and my sisters cared for my children when I was in school or had to do homework.

Was your family supportive of you through your college (or other training) years?
Yes

Did you have a job and work while you were going to college or other training? Yes


Present Career as a Registered Nurse


Describe an average work day for you.
Currently I am an instructor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. I work from 8am - 5pm when I am not in the clinical setting. When school is in session and I am in the clinical setting I work from 6am - 3pm two days of the week. I do alot of grading in the evenings and on the regular work days.

How many hours do you work in an average week?
40-50

What kind of health care setting do you work in?
I teach in the traditional undergraduate nursing program at TTUHSC-SON. My work setting is the classroom and the hospital units.

What do you see as strengths needed for your career?
Flexibility, patience, and lots of understanding. I try to remember what it was like when I was a student and also that there are a variety of viewpoints and diversity among the students.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It is very rewarding when the students tell me that I have made a difference in their learning, but especially when I see them at the work setting post graduation. They make me proud.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in your career?
Go for it. It is tough, but well worth the hard work.

If you could start over, would you still make the same decision to pursue education?
Yes, but I would have started earlier in my life.

Do you plan to pursue opportunities for advancement in your career field?
Yes, I am working on earning a Certification as a Nurse Educator and I am preparing to continue my education towards a doctorate in nursing.

View Other Professionals in this Field
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