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OC nursing graduates raring to go - Odessa American: Odessa College

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OC nursing graduates raring to go

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019 3:35 pm

Two Odessa College nursing graduate candidates are raring to go once they get their degrees.

Nicolette Lawler, 26, is going for associate degree of nursing and Miguel Reyes, 19, is in the licensed vocational nurse to registered nurse transition program.

Lawler is working at Midland Memorial Hospital in the emergency room and Reyes is in critical care at Medical Center Hospital. OC Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Frank Rich said Reyes is poised to become the youngest RN in the state.

Reyes said graduation, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Odessa College Sports Center, came up really fast.

Lawler said it has taken her three and a half years to get to this point because of prerequisites and waiting to get into the program.

“… It felt like it drug so long, (but) this semester it’s like I blinked and it was over,” said Lawler who is the mother of two young girls.

Reyes, who went through the LVN program at Andrews High School, said he is used to planning his week out ahead of time.

“And to know there’s no tests, it’s kind of like an empty feeling,” Reyes said.

He added that it doesn’t feel real because he’s been in school his whole life.

Both Lawler and Reyes still have to take the NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination, which determines if it is safe for you to begin practice as an entry-level nurse, according to the Kaplan Nursing website.

Lawler said she feels OC has prepared them well for nursing. She said one of the best things OC has done is implement the ATI, or Assessment Technologies Institute, which is used to predict success on the NCLEX.

“… That has given me a lot of confidence going into nursing. We’ve had a bunch of tests that we have to take and modules that we can do to get more tools and knowledge and we just got done taking our NCLEX predictor that tells us what they feel like our chances of passing NCLEX are. I was able to get a 99 percent chance of passing NCLEX, which is really, really cool because I felt like I knew nothing,” Lawler said.

She added that you study so much you wonder how much you really know.

Reyes wants to specialize in critical care nursing.

“I like to know and be able to fix things myself. I feel like as a critical care nurse you’re more on your critical thinking and your actions at the moment that can save someone’s life,” he said.

Lawler describes herself as an “ER fanatic.”

“I love the fast pace, the chaos, the stress of you have to know your stuff and you have to be on top of your game. I love that go, go, go; push you until you want to break kind of pressure, so I really enjoy the ER,” she said.

Lawler added that she’s looking forward to graduation.

“I’m excited and I’m proud. It’s been a really, really hard road. People tell you that nursing school is hard and it’s going to be hard, but I don’t think you really know just how hard it is until you get there and to finally feel like I made it I survived; I’m here. It’s a big feeling and it’s a lot to take in and it’s very surreal. Like I said, I can’t believe it’s going to be over and that I finally did it and I’m going to have this degree. For me, it’s just a very rewarding feeling,” she said.

Reyes said he owes his interest in nursing to his mother, who was a medical assistant at Medical Center.

“Whenever she heard of the program that Andrews High School was offering she told me that I really needed to look into it and at first I didn’t know. I was going to do accounting because I was really a numbers guy and then I took a look into the program. I went ahead and followed through the interview. I’ve always been the type of person that if I’m going to start something, I’m going to finish it so whenever I completed the two years … it was a big door of opportunities that was opened to me …,” Reyes said.

Lawler said her mother was a nurse and people said she would be good at it. She also said she thought she would enjoy it.

“… I didn’t really realize how much I would like it until I got there. Then I remember right after my first semester, I stepped foot into an emergency room at Midland Memorial and got to start working there and I fell so in love with it I thought, ‘Oh my gosh! Why didn’t I do this sooner?’”

“Everybody who goes into nursing to some extent wants to help people and I do think that is a lot of it. You have to have that want to help somebody and make a difference. … For me, it was watching how the body works and all these complex systems and knowing that my hard work, my dedication really was going to make a difference in somebody’s life and could mean the difference between a poor outcome and a good outcome for them. That’s a lot weight to carry, but it’s a very rewarding feeling when you put a lot into it and then you have the successes,” Lawler added.

Odessa, TX

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