There are many roads to the right job, and not all of them involve a four-year educational commitment. Mindye Willems, who is now happy in her career as a licensed vocational nurse, is the type of person who gets the most out of life. A mother of four, Willems found it possible to return to school with RGV Careers, an institute for higher learning. RGV Careers offers healthcare professional courses that introduce students to the healthcare field and guides them towards licensed certificates such as CNA and LVN in the field of nursing, as Willems was able to do. Willems says this was the smartest move she could have made, as she is now in a position to help and inspire others the same way she was encouraged to join the field when she witnessed a particularly impressive nurse in action.
Willems encountered some minor health issue with her children’s allergies and asthma when they were young, and as a result spent their fair share of time in hospitals and clinics with medical staff of all types but especially nurses. “One in particular in the emergency room went above and beyond her duty with my son, and she made quite an impression on me,” says Willems. “After that I felt that was my calling.”
However, at the time she was far from qualified for her ideal career, but doors opened by chance that put her on the right track. She was offered a job as an allergy nurse, which required a CNA certification for the position. “I started looking around and RGV Careers had a certified nursing assistant program,” says Willems. “It was a very quick and efficient program. I was very impressed with them.”
She got her certification and worked at the allergy company for four years, but when the company started to reduce her hours and lay off people, she decided to take the next step. “I figured, ‘Now is a good a time as any to go back and get my LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) certification,’” remembers Willems. “I had been wanting to but hadn’t had the opportunity as a recently divorced mother of four.” RGV Careers was instrumental in helping her achieve her goals, says Willems, and hers is not a unique case.
“They try to offer as many stepping stones as possible to help out any situation that any student might be in,” says Willems. RGV Careers School Director Dr. Annabelle Palomo is known for pushing RGV Careers to go above and beyond what one would expect from a school. “Dr. Palomo was very empathetic to me being a single mom,” says Willems. Though Willems had an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. class schedule, RGV Careers also offers evening and weekend classes. “For me it was a better fit to not work while I was going to school, but they try to accommodate those who have a daytime job so they can take night classes,” says Willems.
She also got information from Ari Vela, an outreach director at RGV Careers who pointed her toward the entrance exam and enrollment in the 13-month LVN program, which covers anatomy and physiology, nutrition, maternity and pediatrics, pharmacology — every aspect that graduates will need to perform their duties in a hospital setting, or in the case of Willems, a home health setting. “We learn IV skill, vitals skills, proper calculations for medication administration,” lists Willems. “Anything we need to be in the workforce.”
To learn more about RGV Careers, visit their website: http://rgvcareers.edu or follow them on social media.