TSTC vocational nursing achieves milestone

HARLINGEN — Texas State Technical College here has chalked up another 100 percent passing rate for Vocational Nursing.

“This is our third time receiving this pass rate,” said TSTC Vocational Nursing Program Chair Adriana Hinojosa-Vassberg. “We’re very proud.

“The vocational nurse is a very hands-on occupation, but we do expect our students to possess a lot of critical thinking and decision-making skills. The vocational nurse is responsible for domestic duties, and also has a high level of thinking. They have to figure out why a person is feeling a certain way.”

While people may assume that being part of such a program may take quite a bit of time to complete, the process is actually a lot shorter.

“The program itself is one-year, but we do require prerequisites before they begin, which will make their total time at TSTC about two years,” said Hinojosa-Vassberg.

Upon completing the program, job placement is not a worry for many students.

“Most of our students are offered positions before they even graduate,” said Hinojosa-Vassberg. “A lot of our students will go on to become registered nurses, getting associate and bachelor’s degrees.”

TSTC Allied Health Division Director Jean Lashbrook reiterates that TSTC’s Vocational Nursing does incredibly well in terms of job placement.

“A lot of times they see our students practicing out there in the field and they’re already telling them to put in their applications. We do have 100 percent job placement, as well,” she said.

Vocational Nursing takes effort and drive to complete, but the students who finish the program successfully often come back and show their gratitude.

“We tell them to keep in touch with us, and they do,” said Hinojosa-Vassberg. “Our graduates come and visit us and thank us all the time.”

The love of the program isn’t only apparent in TSTC’s graduates, it also stems from the love that the instructors show when teaching.

“I can speak for the Allied Health Division and definitely all of our instructors in this division; there is a passion for what we do, and a lot of that passion goes along with the licenses that we hold to be able to teach what we teach here,” said Lashbrook. “It’s important when we put students out there to do clinical. We want to make sure they are confident with patients and with their knowledge. Our No. 1 priority is patients and that our students treat our patients with dignity.”

“We are tough and strict, but our graduates are ready to go out there and work,” said Hinojosa-Vassberg.

Vocational nursing isn’t the only thing this program teaches its students.

“We teach professionalism,” states Lashbrook. “You will always know a vocational nursing student walking down the hall. Uniform. Conservative makeup. We teach all of that.”

Recent Vocational Nursing graduate Jason Rodriguez expressed his gratitude toward TSTC’s devoted instructors.

“It’s such a great feeling knowing that I was taught by some of the best,” he said. “I feel fortunate to have been a part of such a great success. It tells our community that this is not just any ordinary vocational program, but that it’s one of the best in the Rio Grande Valley, and they take pride in education.”

While the vocational nursing program may have its challenging moments, the payoff is always worth the effort.

“We get our passion from caring for someone who comes and thanks you for caring for their loved one. They’ll show gratitude for taking good care of their mother or grandmother,” explained Hinojosa-Vassberg.