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Vocational Nursing Students Celebrate TSTC Day in Austin

Monday, April 22, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

Vocational nursing students celebrate TSTC Day in AustinAUSTIN — It wasn’t her first time visiting the State Capitol.

Jessica Puente, a nursing student at Texas State Technical College Harlingen, has visited several times before with family and friends. But this time it was a little different.

Puente, along with nine of her classmates, showed up to the steps of the capitol on Wednesday donned head-to-toe in bright white nurse’s uniforms. The ten TSTC Harlingen students were part of a larger TSTC contingent that included students, faculty and administrators from all four statewide campuses and members of the Board of Regents as the TSTC System celebrated TSTC Day at the Capitol and received special recognition on the House and Senate chambers.

Puente said she learned more from her latest trip to Austin than in her previous visits.

“We’re a state funded institution and decisions made here affect all the students at all the TSTC campuses,” Puente said. “It was very nice to meet other students from other campuses. There was another LVN (licensed vocational nursing) student here from Sweetwater so it was great to see that we’re all working toward the same thing. Overall it was a great experience for all of us.”

Puente and her fellow vocational nursing students are set to graduate on Friday April 26.

The TSTC contingent visited both chambers during the morning. After lunch the group met with legislators and staffers from their respective districts. The Harlingen group discussed the need for further allied health funding in the RGV, a medically underserved area.

TSTC sponsored an ice cream social in which all four campuses demonstrated an area of study from that college.

For TSTC Harlingen it was Allied Health and the nursing students provided anyone that stopped by with free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings.

For Harlingen’s Erasmo Rodriguez, it was somewhat of an eye-opening moment.

“This was all new to me but it’s definitely something that I really enjoyed,” Rodriguez said. “There’s a lot going on here that affects us all and it was nice to see how it works.”

The students were accompanied by Megan Flores, a registered nurse and nursing instructor at TSTC. She said the exposure to the state’s political system was a great experience for her students.

“The benefit for our graduate nurses was the exposure to our legislative process and the voice they have in it and getting excited about the powerful voice they will have in healthcare,” Flores said.

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