A Mid-Life Career Change Builds Confidence and Purpose for TC LVN Nursing Student

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TC Licensed Vocational Nursing student, Nate McClain, is originally from Chicago. He moved to Texarkana in 2013, when he met his wife. Not long after, they decided to adopt and found their daughter, Marley, when she was only three-months-old.

Nate had a job working long hours at a local factory without a degree that financially supported him so much that his wife did not have to work. However, after spending more time with his wife and daughter, and really starting to think about being a good example for their daughter, Nate decided to go to school and complete his degree saying, “I figured, I’m 39-years-old. It’s now or never.”

When determining what he would pursue in school, he used his past experiences to guide him, leading him to the healthcare industry. “I took a random course in Phlebotomy years ago, just for the sake of doing it. I really enjoyed it, so I decided to go into healthcare.”

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Nate started working at a hospital to get acclimated with the healthcare environment and see if a career in the industry would fit his lifestyle. His experiences in the hospital did not disappoint him and they solidified his dream of devoting his education and career to helping others. He was ready to move forward with his career goals and find a healthcare training program that fit his needs and he began doing research on area nursing schools.

While working at the hospital, he heard from colleagues that Texarkana College’s nursing school was ranked as one of the top ten programs in the state of Texas and that the quality of TC’s academic programs prepared nursing students to succeed and excel in their field. TC’s campus location in central Texarkana was an added bonus.

“TC’s campus is right around the corner from my house,” said Nate. “I had to continue working to support my family while attending school. TC’s programs offered a step-by-step completion plan that I could manage. I couldn’t afford to be out of work with a family at home to provide for, so TC’s program allowed me to be able to work and go to school and complete education in steps supportive of this lifestyle.”

Nate reached out to TC’s Health Sciences Enrollment Specialist, Karen Holt, who helped him enroll in the Licensed Vocational Nursing 1-year certification program.

“When working at the hospital, everyone told me I made a good choice to pick TC’s LVN program, that I picked a good one,” said Nate. “I’m confident I made the right choice.”

Nate said that the instructors’ collective efforts to support students and provide help is very appreciated.

“I really like the TC nursing instructors because they are so helpful and they offer students many different scenarios, tools, and ways for us to grasp complex information,” said Nate. “These teaching methods are especially beneficial for learning complicated procedures in clinical simulations. Our instructors always say to trust the process, so that’s what I do.”

During the clinical simulations, students learn hands-on skills that are a major part of the LVN job. In addition to the skills portion of the program, there are weekly exams. In recent years, TC’s LVN program has had a 100% NCLEX pass rate proving that students are prepared to serve as successful LVNs.

“The exams are beneficial because they keep you on your toes, staying fresh with the information,” Nate said. “However, these exams are not your typical multiple-choice exam with an easy answer. The tests are formatted like the NCLEX (the National Council Licensure Examination for Licensed Vocational Nurses) to prepare students to be able to successfully complete this national test and begin working as a certified LVN. These tests require much more in-depth critical thinking than a typical college exam. Every answer could be correct, and you have to know the right one to do first.”

Nate welcomed the challenges of TC’s LVN program that showed him that he is capable of more than he ever imagined.

“I’m not some brainiac type of guy, but I like to be challenged academically,” said Nate. “I’m amazed at the confidence I gained in my abilities to treat patients. This confidence has carried over into taking care of my family and listening to other people’s problems. My number one motivator to succeed is my daughter, Marley, I want to be a good role model for her.”

Nate graduated in 2020 with his LVN certificate and plans to continue his education to become a nurse practitioner. Just two weeks after graduation, Nate landed a job as a charge nurse at Focused Care of Linden, Texas.

“I was surprised at how quickly I began working in such a great position as a new graduate. I love it!” Nate said if you can get through TC’s LVN program, you can go anywhere you want to go.

“It catapults your career. Once you get this down, your confidence is so high, you can do anything!”

Registration for the Spring 2021 semester at Texarkana College is now open and classes begin mid-January. To begin the enrollment process, please call 903-823-3012 to schedule an appointment with an advisor or visit TC online at https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/spring/

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