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Nurses Week: Passion continues to be common thread in field

By JR Ortega
May 7, 2013 at 12:07 a.m.
Updated May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.

Patricia Aguilar stands in the examination room at the Crossroads Health Center in Victoria. She has been a certified nurse assistant for the center for two years.

Interested in nursing?

Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria offer degrees in nursing.

• For information on Victoria College's associate degree nursing program, call 361-485-6823 or visit VictoriaAdvocate.com and click on the story.

• For information on UHV's program, contact Student Recruitment Coordinator Jana DeBow at debowj@uhv.edu or 281-275-3053 or visit uhv.edu/nursing.

Patricia Aguilar finds relating to and aiding a patient a breeze.

Several months ago, however, the tables were turned. The 27-year-old certified nurse assistant at Crossroads Health Center was diagnosed with lupus, and while examining a patient, she had an episode.

Aguilar fainted and had stroke-like symptoms. That is when a fellow nurse and the patient herself jumped in to help.

This is what nursing is about - having the heart to help others, Aguilar said.

People like herself are acknowledged daily, not just during Nurses Week, which runs through Sunday.

"I've always loved to help people," said Aguilar, who has worked at the center for two years. "I'm the type of person who is just outgoing."

The acknowledgment is daily, said Aguilar and nurse Misty Harvell, who has been at the center since it opened in 2007.

Patients constantly thank them for the job they do, they said, and that's where the real satisfaction comes in.

The toughest part of the job is getting close to patients and dealing with their illnesses and, sometimes, death.

"It's just your job," Harvell said. "The patient depends on you."

In Harvell's 12 years of experience, nursing has been streamlined with electronic records and tablets, but one thing has stayed the same - the passion.

"You've got to have the heart to do it," the 28-year-old said.

She began training her sophomore year in high school.

Kathryn Tart, dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing, said compassion is the true key to being a successful nurse.

"Everybody is touched by a nurse at some time in their life," she said. "We hold the public's trust, and it's nice to honor them."

Tart said about 95 percent of the about 400 graduates the school has produced since 2008 stay in Texas.

She's not sure how many stay in Victoria but said she sees many alumni around Victoria.

The need for nurses is still high, she said. Nursing is one occupation that is always in demand.

"It's very joyful for me to go onto a floor and see current students or alumni. It's a very happy occasion," she said.

Vicky Molina, a patient at the Crossroads Health Center, finds it a happy occasion when she takes her stepson, Alfred, 27, to the center.

The family has been at the center since it opened, she said. Her son lives with cerebral palsy, autism and is mentally challenged.

Molina was also the patient turned nurse who helped Aguilar during her fainting spell.

Molina said she didn't do anything the nurses wouldn't have done for her or her son.

"I wouldn't go anywhere else," she said. "If there is something going on at home, I call the girls."

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