Three years out of high school, Emily Navales is ready to start her life.
Just days after her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) pinning ceremony, Navales was at West Coast University-Orange County's career fair applying for new graduate residency programs. Most of her former high school classmates were still in school.
"They're still in college and working on their undergraduate degrees," Navales said. "I feel like I have a step up on them right now because I'm looking for a full-time career versus other students who are still graduating and still working minimum wage jobs."
As a high school senior, Navales volunteered at a hospital where she met several WCU nursing students and their instructor. Navales knew she wanted to be a nurse, and after talking to the WCU students she knew where she wanted to go.
Why did you want to be a nurse?
A lot of my family members have become sick in the past, as well as myself, and being hospitalized is a really traumatizing or intimidating situation for a lot of people. Seeing all the different medical staff that provided the care we needed, the nurses were the ones that stood out to me the most. They took one-on-one care of us and made sure that we felt valued and important, and so that made me want to become a nurse.
What would you tell people about WCU?
I think that West Coast is a really unique experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone that really wants to accelerate and advanced their degree and get a bachelor degree. It offers so many opportunities like global public health where students recently went to Korea. A lot of our cohort went to Panama to give back to those communities, so it doesn't just stop here.
What inspires you?
I feel that everybody experiences that time where they question themselves, if nursing is really the thing they want to do, especially when we have our 12-hour clinical shifts. A lot of nurses give us independence to work with our patients and sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming for students, but realizing they will have support and teamwork with the other nurses on the floor, it really makes you push through the day. Knowing that I can make an impact in the patient's life is what made me want to be a nurse.