Nursing Student Profiles
COCC Nursing Student
I guess you can say nursing is in my blood, I come from a family with several nurses, including both of my grandmothers, and my great-great grandmother who was a well-known midwife in Missouri. I grew up in Redmond 3rd generation and graduated high school in 2015. I jumped right in to the prerequisites for nursing school and started to explore what all this career has to offer. In the fall of 2016, I transferred to COCC from Eastern Oregon University and completed the CNA program. That experience proved to me that nursing is my passion and allowed me to prepare myself for the intensity of the nursing program. I was accepted for fall 2017 and am thankful for having the opportunity to pursue what I love.
I enjoy the program's diversity. The students come from such varying backgrounds, yet we help each other expand our knowledge and support one another. I also appreciate that the learning settings are diverse —theory with the book material, lab with hands on skills, and clinical with applying all the knowledge we are gaining at a reasonable pace. In clinical, it is wonderful to be exposed to different fields of nursing and find out more about those environments before choosing what field we may potentially go into.
I believe we are lucky to have a local program that is small enough for a more personalized education. The focus is on us as individual students. Each instructor has varying methods of presenting material and caters to different ways that we students learn. I find that I learn something new from each instructor on the same topic, giving us a broader perspective. Every instructor is approachable and for shy people like me, being comfortable enough to ask questions is essential. We regularly receive feedback in clinical and lab settings on how we handle certain situations, which provides us with opportunities to grow in the areas we need it most.
I cannot remember a time where I did not want to do something involving healthcare. It was not until high school that I found myself being drawn towards nursing, but I have always had a passion and interest in helping children specifically.
Children often feel intimidated, alone, or simply do not understand how to address their own health. Nurses-- whether it be though treating sicknesses, advocating for that patient to have access to resources, educating them, or preventing illness—strive to provide these things for their patients, while also making them feel less frightened or confused. I truly feel this is my calling.
Ultimately, I want to be in a family birthing center as a midwife, or be a pediatric nurse practitioner. No matter what path I choose, I want to help give babies and kids a healthy and strong beginning to life, so they can grow into healthy adults. I am also drawn to the rural setting, where access to care and necessary resources may be more limited. Until then, I am happy to gain experience in any field of nursing.
COCC Nursing Student
I've lived in Bend for the last 18 years. In my previous life I worked with at risk teens and young adults in a local wilderness therapy school. This program encouraged it's employees to seek out pertinent educational experiences whenever they presented themselves. For me, I have always been drawn to the medical profession due to the emphasis on continuing education, critical thinking and compassionate care. It was soon revealed to me that I truly enjoyed patient care, so I became an EMT. I've been working for this program for 12 years, the last 6 years as an EMT and Medical Coordinator. Through this experience I've discovered that I LOVE patient care! From the education of patients, to direct medical care, to community teaching opportunities focusing on staff education. Sufficed to say, I got hooked, and I wanted to expand on my medical and patient care knowledge. The Nursing program at COCC was the perfect fit!
Since the first day of class, I've been amazed and impressed by the "No Person Left Behind" attitude of our entire cohort, and instructors! We all support, encourage and pick each other up. A year ago we were all strangers sitting nervously awaiting our fate, and now I feel as if I can talk to anyone or ask anyone for advice or help, especially the instructors. Everyone here wants every person in the cohort to succeed. Additionally, the COCC Nursing Program does an amazing job of exposing it's students to as many different nursing careers as possible, while providing meaningful in-class material and hands on experience through labs. This is a challenging, time-consuming program. I don't know how I'd get through this without the help and support from my amazing wife and kid.
My previous college experience was at Southern Oregon University where I received my Bachelors of Science several years ago. It has been a while since I was so ensconced in academia, and this program hits the road running from day one. I was worried that I would be able to keep up and manage my time appropriately, juggling work and school and family. The faculty at COCC understand that this program asks for your full commitment, and that life happens. My experience with the faculty has been nothing but positive. They bring to the table years of experience in the nursing profession, from different specialties, across several decades. One of the first questions that we were asked on the first day of class was: What kind of nurse do you want to be? Not necessarily where do you want to specialize, but do you want to be an OK nurse or a great nurse. From what I've gleaned from the faculty, they want all of us to be amazing nurses, and they'll push you to that end.
For me, I've always been impressed with how nurses interact with patients in such a caring, confident, non-judgmental way. From the palliative care that my mother-in-law received during her last days in Hospice, to the critical care my father-in-law received in ICU, to the Emergency Department nurses that I've worked with. I have always viewed nursing as a noble and trusted profession that realizes that nobody wants to be sick, hurt, impaired, confused or scared. And it's specifically this profession that channels these feelings and emotions to build trust and compassion with each patient, a very daunting task. My wife was the one who initially suggested that I consider becoming a nurse, and at first I brushed it off as something that I didn't think I'd be good at. But over the years, both as working as an EMT and direct experience with nurses, I've realized just how amazing this profession is. I'm looking forward to beginning my new career but I also realize that becoming an RN is just the beginning of my learning.
With my background in pre-hospital care, I thought that I would transition to the Emergency Department as soon as I could after becoming an RN. But, this program has done so much to open my eyes to all of the possible directions a nurse could professionally go. For now, I'm going to allow the process to work it's magic over me and see where I end up at the end of this program, keeping as many options available to me as possible.
COCC Nursing Student
Q: How did you end up in the COCC Nursing program? (What was your previous life before Nursing School?)
My family ran a successful all-phase landscape business that primarily focused on providing tree spraying services, noxious weed spraying services and any subcontracted work from the myriad of other landscape companies not able to provide these specialized services to their clients. Through some difficult situations I chose to start the journey to complete the prerequisites needed for nursing school after being part owner of this family run landscape business for 20 years. My wife was pregnant and gave birth to our son during this transitionary period of my life. Before then, becoming a nurse wasn't really on my radar of future goals I wanted to accomplish. Heck, we were financially stable and going merrily along and life was like a dream right? Well, not so much. We were having problems becoming pregnant and our family wasn't growing as I had imagined it would. Funny how life is filled with character building moments, isn't it?
Q: What do you like about the COCC Nursing program?
I do not know how to compare other nursing programs to COCC's in terms of one being better then another (but COCC really is). What I do know and like about COCC's nursing program is the closeness it has brought our cohort together. The struggle is real and not just a cliché in the challenges this program extracts from you as an individual. The challenges can include scholastic and personal struggles. These struggles help shape and define how you develop as an individual becoming part of something bigger within this program. Me, personally, realizing that my other classmates in this cohort are going through these same trials brings us closer. I have learned it is about supporting one another. Our cohort has really become like family supporting one another, however it is needed. It is very truthful that we will continue to have fundamentally changed throughout these two years of pursing our dreams to become Registered Nurses.
Q: What do you find most valuable about the COCC Nursing faculty?
I have been around college faculty pretty much my whole life. My mom was the Media Services supervisor for COCC from 1988 to 2006. I attended OSU's turfgrass program from 1999 to 2001 and my wife started her higher education career in 2010 to present. COCC's faculty is the gold standard! Being able to really connect with a professor is one of the biggest advantages of attending a community college. They really do care and want to invest their time to make a change in your life. By having smaller class sizes, I really felt like I was important and not someone who was just there to invest in the professor's book that is published. In this program we are juggling lecture, nursing lab experience and hands on clinical experience all with exams and assignments. The organization required for this is mind blowing. I am truly grateful for the amount of effort each one of COCC's faculty puts forth to fundamentally change who we are, and who we will become as nurses.
Q: Why do you want to be a nurse?
I didn't know I wanted to be a nurse. It wasn't until six years into marriage that we were led to the path of a nursing career. My wife and I struggled with unexplained infertility for these six years. We had success with IVF after many other options failed. We lost our son's twin during the second trimester. A few weeks after that during a camping trip my wife experienced a sub-chorionic tear/hemorrhage that put us in the ER. These were truly trying times that took an emotional toll. These were the times that I truly saw what the medical field is all about. The amount of compassion, patience and humanity really left a lasting impression on me. If given the chance to impart any of the love of compassion, education, or presence given to my family, to someone who is in need, then I feel like I would be on the right path.
Q: Where do you want to ultimately work and in what capacity?
Nursing has a ton of job opportunities. It is a profession that is always in demand. Nursing is an ethical and honest profession with lots of career flexibility. I am often asked what type of nurse I want to be in casual conversation. I think part of becoming a nurse is understanding what type of personal choice you make to find fulfillment in the job environment you chose. Thankfully at COCC we are afforded different outside learning experiences in our community. All of these experiences have been great for me. So, it is tough right now to lock down where I ultimately want to be. I would like to learn more about the field of genetic editing and how my education can potentially help shape this role.
COCC Nursing Student
I moved over here from the Eugene area about 6 years ago, right out of high school with the intention of getting my RN through COCC. My sister was a nurse over here and had gone through the COCC program. Since her plan was successful, I thought it would work for me as well. As I started doing the required prerequisites, I met my husband. Two years later, prerequisites were done, and I was able to start applying for the program. It was a long road getting accepted into the program, taking a few attempts at applying. I was finally accepted 4 years later, and I can say with confidence it was worth the wait.
From the start of my prerequisites until being accepted into the nursing program, I worked my way up from being a care aid at an assisted living center to working at the hospital as a CNA2. Also, in that time, my husband and I got married and had our first child, a son, who is the most amazing little human; our life is an adventure every day with him. Being a wife and mother has inspired me to fulfill my dream of becoming a registered nurse even more. The chance to make a difference in people's lives, the overall knowledge, the career opportunities, and the financial stability as an RN are incredible. To have all those things not only for myself, but for my family as well, is so important to me. This program was the opportunity that could provide all those things and open a lot of doors for our future.
I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was ten and my mother's life journey took her over the hurdle of breast cancer. Witnessing all the compassion and comfort the nurses gave to my mother made, me feel less scared and in those moments, I knew that being able to do that for other people would be amazing accomplishments in life. That's why I want to be a nurse, so I can help be the compassion and comfort in peoples' most vulnerable times and make a difference in their lives.
The COCC Nursing program has been an awesome experience. So far throughout this program, I have grown so much as a person and overcome many challenges, ultimately bettering myself. The faculty are inspiring. They work so hard to prepare everything for the program and are there when anyone needs support. In my experience, it seems like they really want all their students to succeed and will help where ever they can when one is in a hard spot. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their program, the materials in it and ways to support students. They are all very passionate about what they teach, which makes you want to be as passionate when learning it all.
I love that the COCC Nursing program is both economically reasonable and high quality. I feel as though the education I am receiving is providing me all the tools and knowledge to be a successful and great nurse. I also love the fact that from the beginning of the program we are submersed into the nursing world with clinicals that start right away in fall term. I truly valued the time in clinicals since they helped me incorporate and utilize the materials covered in lecture into the real world of nursing.
Before I started the COCC Nursing program, I thought I knew exactly where I wanted to work as a nurse, but now I'm not so sure. Since the program has given me quite a few opportunities at experiencing some of the different areas of nursing, I'm sort of stumped. There are so many different areas RNs can work. I think for now I will focus on learning as much as I can from the second year of this program. Come graduation, I know I will have a better idea of where I want to start my life-long career as a registered nurse and ultimately my journey of helping people through compassion, empathy and love.
COCC Nursing Student
My journey to entering the COCC nursing program was a long, complex adventure. I grew up with a family of healthcare professionals, yet after high school I went to Cal State Long Beach and earned a bachelor's degree in marine biology, a goal I had set my mind to since I was a young girl. Just prior to graduation, I had some health challenges arise, which caused me to change paths in order to keep my health insurance. Rather than working in an industry that I loved, I chose to work my way up the corporate ladder through two major US companies until I finally realized that I was no longer happy and was underutilized in my role. After reconnecting with family in Oregon, my husband and I moved to Bend (where I was born) in 2011. I began working for a company that supports adults with developmental disabilities and truly fell in love with helping support the clients in daily activities that most of us take for granted. I found out about the COCC Nursing Program from a good friend at work and decided to look into what it would entail. I always wanted to go back to school and loved helping people, but was I too old to go back? After careful consideration, support from my family and lots of prayer, I returned to school in spring 2015 to complete the remainder of the prerequisites for the Nursing Program. A year later, I completed the requirements, applied to the program, and anxiously awaited my acceptance letter. Receiving that letter is one of the proudest moments of my life.
I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of the COCC Nursing Program. This program is respected and loved by the Central Oregon community, and now that I am a part of it, I understand why. I truly appreciate how immersive the program is placing us in the clinical setting early on in our education with tons of in-class lectures and lab hours. I love how the program is training us to care for people as a whole to look beyond the disease or diagnosis and truly treat the patients every need. The COCC Nursing program is a professional, fast-paced and challenging program that facilitates growth and comradery amongst its students. In the short amount of time we have been in this program, I have made some very strong connections and friendships with my fellow classmates.
The backbone of this program is the COCC Nursing Faculty they work tirelessly through the year to create an enriched learning environment within the college and the community of Bend. The love and dedication that the instructors have for the students is evident in their willingness to help, encourage, educate, and motivate each student through this program. The faculty truly want each student to succeed and they are willing to sit down and listen to anyone who steps into their office. I have never felt so supported and genuinely cared for by an instructor until I met the COCC Nursing Faculty.
I have always had a strong desire to help others whether it was through job training or teaching classes at local aquariums I found that aspect of life quite enjoyable. Working with special needs individuals, providing end-of-life care for my grandfather and in-home care for other family members is what truly shaped my decision to become a nurse. I want to help be a voice for people who may not have the means to speak up for themselves whether by lack of verbal ability, loss of cognition or any other form of communication barrier that could be present. I enjoy critical thinking, sharing knowledge amongst my peers, and brainstorming especially in regards to patient care. Bringing peace and joy to patients through memories, music, or by simply holding their hand especially during what could be some of their darkest moments in life is what drives me to become a nurse.
There is so much variety to where you can work as a nurse, which is why I appreciate the wide range of clinical experiences we are offered as students. While I do not know the exact setting of where I want to spend the bulk of my nursing career just yet, but I do know that I plan to earn a BSN and possibly a Masters degree so that I can become a nursing instructor one day. As for now, I am absorbing as much as I can from each clinical experience and know that I want to work in a hospital setting. I am interested in several areas including critical care, peri-and-post-operative, geriatric care, and hospice
COCC Nursing Student
I moved to Bend from San Francisco three years ago, mainly for the outdoor lifestyle and beautiful weather I had heard about. I had worked in restaurants for five years, and it was a fine way to pay my bills for a little while, but I definitely wanted to feel a deeper sense of purpose out of my life and knew I had to get into a different long-term career.
My mother was told she would never have kids, but after a new experimental procedure and many prayers, here I am. I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the miracle of modern medicine and I think it was for this reason that Ive always been drawn towards the field. I want it to be my job to help people who are at their most vulnerable, to make a difference in their lives by showing them compassion, empathy and most importantly love.
I looked at private school RN programs but decided that COCC was the quickest and most economical route for me (plus that meant I never had to leave Bend).
The program at COCC has turned out to be amazing! I love how much and how quickly you get hands-on experience in the hospital, but the best part of the program is definitely the faculty. They are incredibly invested and care so much about shaping the way we think to become competent nurses; I cant imagine you would find this at many other programs.
As of right now, I hope to eventually end up in the operating room, but who knows where this road will take me. If you feel like its time for a career change in your life, make it happen! COCC is here to help.
Former COCC Nursing Student
I have had an interest in medicine since I was very young. Life took me in a different direction for a bit, but after a family member passed away, I started exploring the nursing field. I was immediately impressed with the good reviews I heard about the program – not just from other students, but the community as a whole. When I decided to apply, I received praise and support from friends and strangers alike. It made me feel confident in my decision to pursue a degree in Nursing from COCC.
I enjoy so many things about the program! I was impressed with how quickly we were participating in clinicals at the hospital and putting our skills to use. Also, the faculty are great and really accessible; I've utilized almost everyone for guidance at some point. Mostly, I enjoy the nursing class. I feel like we have a great camaraderie; everyone is happy and willing to help one another.
I appreciate the nursing staff and how much they legitimately care about the students. I've had the opportunity to sit down with each instructor for various reasons, and I always felt welcomed. Whether discussing lecture material or future career opportunities, the instructors are one of my greatest allies in the nursing program.
I thought when I entered the program, I would be more enthralled with the crazy cases I would get to see. I knew I would obviously be working in a personal, intense atmosphere with patients, but that part did not register much with me. I have found the opposite to be true, though. In the short time I have been in the program, I have been amazed and humbled by the conversations and connections I've made with patients. I personally believe it speaks so much to the human connection that we all share. It is that notion that inspires me to work harder, study longer, and absorb everything I can in this short time to become a good nurse.
As of right now, I see myself working in an acute care setting. I enjoy the intensity and fast-paced nature of the hospital atmosphere. However, I am doing my best to stay open to the process and explore different options while I am in the program. I am very interested in internal medicine; however, I find it all fascinating at this point! I think that is what is so exciting about the nursing field: there is an avenue for everyone's interests.
Former COCC Nursing Student
After high school I rejected the thought of going to college like many young graduates and began working, hoping to find a passion. Along this path, I worked many jobs gaining experience in many trades of construction and customer service. However, it wasn't until I received a position at a medical clinic that made it all come together. I discovered how much I loved working with people, my fascination with the human body, and medicine.
Counter intuitive of most thought processes, my favorite part about the program was how hard it was to be accepted. I worked tirelessly over two years to make my dream a reality, and it makes me even more proud when people in the community acknowledge the dedication it took to be a part of this program. Completing the program, I discovered the experience has been everything and more than I had dreamed of. I like the difficulty, and how it constantly forces me to elevate to another level of academic performance. Though the program is very intense with many critical concepts and skills to learn, it is concise and well organized.
On my first day, I had the privilege of meeting individuals that are more dedicated to their job than anyone I've met; our team of instructors. What impressed me the most, was their passion but also their ability to laugh with us and cry with us. They genuinely listen to our concerns and will make changes if they're able. They take on this daunting task every year of teaching forty eight stressed out students for nine months with a smile. Hats off to you ladies.
Being a nurse will give me the fulfillment and daily stimulation that no other job or career can. It encompasses all of the things that I had enjoyed about my slew of previous positions. It won't feel like a job for me. I look forward to clinical the same way that I look forward to any of my other hobbies. I undoubtedly love it.
When considering the area of nursing where I wish to work, I believe the answer goes along with where I am as a maturing Nurse. As of now, I would like to either work on the medical floor or in the O.R. Later down the road in life, I'd like to pursue psychiatric nurse practitioner. I want to assist in guiding the teen demographic through their challenges.
Former COCC Nursing Student
I have known that nursing is the career I wanted to pursue since I was a little kid. When I was in middle school my mom came down with a horrible kidney infection that brought here near to death. She was surrounded by absolutely wonderful nurses; and I knew that I wanted to have a huge impact on someone's life. After high school I had a little girl and took a year off from school. I began my nursing journey doing pre-reqs 6 years ago. I finished all of my requirements and applied my first year. Sadly I was about a point off from getting in. This didn't stop me. I applied to Lane Community College Licensed Practical Nurse program and got in. I started there January of 2014 and graduated September of 2014. I worked for a year as an LPN and applied for the transfer position here at COCC. to finish my dreams of becoming an RN. I have had the experience of two different schools and the teachers at this school have gone above and beyond to make me fit in. It has been nice to get so many different nurses' perspectives. I hope to become a Labor and Delivery Nurse. I have had the honor of being a Labor Coach for a few of my friends and I feel like I am meant to do that. After the wonderful education that I am getting here I know that I will be able to fulfill my dreams of being a competent and knowledgeable nurse.
Former COCC Nursing Student
I found out about the COCC Nursing Program after moving to Bend in 2012. I transferred here to work for a business in the Old Mill District, owned by a company I had worked for almost 18 years. I knew I wanted a career change, but I was 46 years old. The Nursing Program here provides an affordable, excellent education combining an experienced and caring staff with outstanding clinical exposure at St. Charles Medical Center. The instructors at COCC are supportive, knowledgeable and take the extra time to help when I find myself struggling with new ideas or skills. They are proactive in caring and put an incredible amount of time into designing the syllabus and hands-on portions of our labs and clinical days. I had thought about nursing after witnessing the amazing care received during a family member's lengthy illness and hospitalization some years ago. It left an impression on my life, one I hope to return by offering my own care as a nurse. I plan to complete a master's degree in nursing eventually and would love to work in the perioperative environment or in critical care at a hospital. We shall see where this road takes me.