John Torres has always known he wanted to work in healtcare — "nursing especially," he added.
"There are plenty of opportunities for critical thinking, making connections with patients and movement within the profession," Torres said. "All of these things contribute to an engaging and fulfilling career path."
Early his in core nursing program at West Coast University-Orange County, Torres read about how nurses instill hope and trust in patients. That statement made a big impact on the recent graduate and guided him through his bacholor of science in nursing program.
"In order to inspire hope and trust in patients," Torres said, "I need to have hope and trust myself."
Why did you choose West Coast University?
I chose to go to West Coast University because there were no wait-lists, it was accelerated, and most importantly, was WASC accredited.
How did WCU prepare you for your career in nursing?
WCU prepared me very well to start my nursing career. I definitely felt that the faculty involved in my education and career development were invested in my success. My instructors were clear with their expectations and promoted excellence. Career services in particular were incredibly helpful and supportive in my professional endeavors. The La Palma team is student-centric and friendly. I feel that they truly go above and beyond in helping us new grads start our careers.
What do you feel differentiates you and your skill set from other graduates who went to other institutions?
My peer leadership and community service experience set me a part from graduates of other institutions. The OC campus offered opportunities for student involvement through the California Nursing Students Association (CNSA), Peer Mentorship Program, and Peer Assisted Learning (PALS). During my two years in nursing core, I was the treasurer for CNSA, a public relations chair for the Peer Mentorship Council, and a pediatrics tutor for PALS. WCU supported these student-run organizations which in turn promoted professional development, community involvement, and a sense of camaraderie on campus. I was even able to study abroad in South Korea and work with nursing students from CHA University during the Global Public Health Program. Taking advantage of all the opportunities offered at school enriched my education and made me a well-rounded and competitive candidate.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?
Two things that stood out to me were to never be afraid to ask questions and to talk to everyone at clinical. Ask questions when you’re not sure about something because the patient’s safety is the number one priority. In addition, don’t be afraid to talk to the managers and directors at clinical for advice. This shows you’re proactive, connects a name with a face, and leaves a good first impression. You’ll also learn about that facility’s application and hiring process because you ultimately want to get hired somewhere.
Talk about an impactful experience you’ve had with one of your patients, inspiring or challenging?
During one of my pediatric clinical shifts, I was caring for a nonverbal child. The parents mentioned how the child knew a little bit of sign language. I also knew a little bit of sign language so one of the first things I did was sign, “I want to help you.” When I did that the child calmed down and the parents exclaimed, “Woah! You know sign language!? She's gonna want to talk to you!” This was my most inspiring patient experience because I really connected with the patient and family and got such a positive response.
What are your plans in the next five years?
Where ever I end up working, I hope to precept new grads and nursing students in order to give them the same great learning experience I got during clinical. I also plan on becoming involved in my facility’s leadership and shared governance by joining a committee.
Anything else you would like to add?
Yes! Try to volunteer at school or a hospital or get a job with direct patient care early in nursing school. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to get involved with CNSA when I started nursing core. One thing lead to another and I was able to achieve all my short-term and long-term goals for nursing school. I was even able to study abroad in South Korea; I never expected that! It was exhausting and stressful at times, but oh so fulfilling. That cliché saying you get out what you put in is true!