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Inspired by Nurse & Mother to Pursue Nursing Education

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TSTC Vocational Nursing student Erin Gordon inserts a nasal gastric tube through a medical manikin’s nose to gather samples for testing purposes during a recent lab session. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)
TSTC Vocational Nursing student Erin Gordon inserts a nasal gastric tube through a medical manikin’s nose to gather samples for testing purposes during a recent lab session. (Photo courtesy of TSTC.)
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Mega Doctor News

HARLINGEN, Texas – Erin Gordon recalled a moment during the pandemic when she was in a hospital for a procedure and a nurse provided her with comfort.

“The nurse did a great job to ensure I wasn’t stressed,” she said. “Her job caught my interest because her approach was excellent. Additionally, my mother was enrolled in the Vocational Nursing program at Texas State Technical College. She recently completed the program, and that sparked my interest in health care as well.”

Now Gordon, of Rio Hondo, is studying for a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing at TSTC’s Harlingen campus, where she is in her second semester.

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Gordon’s introduction to the medical field began when she attended Med High at the South Texas Independent School District (now South Texas ISD Health Professions).

“I developed an interest in becoming a veterinarian,” she said. “During my junior year of high school, I changed my mind because that field is extremely competitive. Then I found out there was a nursing shortage. That’s how I learned about a potential career as a travel nurse. That led me to TSTC.”

Gordon said the program is an eye-opening experience.

“It’s challenging, but I’ll be well prepared,” she said. “It’s mapping my future to a rewarding profession.”

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Gordon said the lab assignments and clinicals have encouraged her to learn more.

“In our labs, I learned how to inject medications by using an educational medical manikin,” she said. “In a clinical setting, I performed a physical assessment. I had the opportunity to document items that I learned. It provided an opportunity to visit with patients that I normally wouldn’t have contact with. It was gratifying to have direct communication with them.”

She said her instructors are supportive.

“Each instructor provides unique wisdom,” she said. “They are building my skills so I can make a difference in the patients’ lives.”

Gordon added that she is satisfied with her decision to attend TSTC.

“I’m thankful for my parents, who are supporting me in my college journey,” she said. “After I graduate as a vocational nurse, my plan is to enter the Texas workforce. I’ll be able to live comfortably with a great-paying career. I plan to continue my education toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing and eventually a bachelor’s degree.”

Veronica Guerrero, a TSTC Vocational Nursing instructor, said Gordon is a dedicated student who is eager to apply her knowledge when caring for patients.

“Erin is caring, empathetic and has great attention to detail,” Guerrero said. “She is empathic with her patients, and that’s a great attribute. Her value to this profession is endless.”

TSTC’s Vocational Nursing certificate program is available at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. Upon completion of the program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination, graduates are classified as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs).

According to onetonline.org, licensed practical and licensed vocational nursing jobs were forecast to increase 17% in Texas from 2020 to 2030. The median salary for LVNs in Texas is $48,520, the website showed.

TSTC also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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