True Calling: Alum finds a way to help family, people through nursing

Jason Rodriguez envisioned trombones and clarinets in his future, but today he plays with instruments of a different kind.

“I wanted to become a music director when I was in high school,” said Rodriguez, who recently graduated from TSTC with a Certificate of Completion in Vocational Nursing.

However, in 2013, a family tragedy forced Rodriguez to reconsider his original dream.

“My grandfather became very sick. I didn’t know how I could help him, and I didn’t understand what was going on. He had severe Cirrhosis of the liver and didn’t make it. That’s when I made a promise to myself to become a nurse in order to do everything in my power to help my family if they were sick. I didn’t want to feel helpless and lost ever again.”

The 23-year-old Rio Hondo native said that he is happier than ever with his new career.

“This is who I am. It’s my way of life,” he said excitedly.

“One of the best parts of my career is being able to see my patients get better every single day. They always thank you for helping them and for caring for them. It’s moments like that in which I am reminded why I became a nurse in the first place.”

When asked of his most fond memory at TSTC, Rodriguez does not hesitate to mention the instructor that helped guide his success.

“Mrs. (Adriana) Hinojosa taught me so much. I will never be able to repay her for the amount of knowledge she instilled in me. She has so much heart and passion for what she does, and I am very fortunate to have been taught by her. TSTC has not only made my life better, but my family’s as well. This is not just a job for me, it’s my career. I know that it’s my calling to be a nurse.”

“Jason was very outgoing,” said Vocational Nursing Program Chair Adriana Hinojosa-Vassberg. He’s a very articulate individual with a lot of drive. He’ll make something of himself.”

While Rodriguez mentioned that obtaining this particular Associate degree does have its many challenging moments, he quickly adds that the payoff is greatly worth it.

“Becoming a nurse is going to be hard, and it’s important for people to remember that,” explained Rodriguez. “When you remember why you wanted to become a nurse in the first place, the hardships make it all worthwhile. One of my favorite sayings that a mentor of mine told me was ’Anything in life worth having is worth working for,’ so just remember that and you’ll get far in life.”

Rodriguez is currently in the process of obtaining approval for his Dementia Practitioner’s Certification and eventually hopes to pursue his master’s degree in Nursing.

“Who knows what will happen next? God has so many things in store for us, and I’m just going along for the ride.”

For more information on TSTC’s Vocational Nursing, visit Vocational Nursing is taught on the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

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