Esmeralda Lopez, comprehensive medical unit director for Valley Baptist Medical Center, speaks with TSTC Nursing students about her work experience there during a recent employer spotlight at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Some Texas State Technical College Nursing students recently heard about some job opportunities that they might pursue after they graduate.

During an employer spotlight held at TSTC’s Harlingen campus, representatives from Valley Baptist Medical Center discussed their company’s job outlook at the Harlingen and Brownsville locations, a nurse residency program, tuition reimbursement, and other key topics.

“Our hospital is always seeking new and experienced nurses,” said Patricio Ybarra, administrative director of nursing for Valley Baptist Medical Center. “TSTC’s Nursing program helps to fulfill that need because their students do clinicals at our facility. They get an opportunity to witness how our operations function daily.”

He said the hospital’s quality of care is comparable to that of hospitals in larger cities.

“We have a Level 2 trauma center with multiple departments that provide different types of care to our patients,” he said. “In addition, we are nationally ranked in stroke care and evidence-based outcomes.”

Norma Robles, an employee recruiter for Valley Baptist Medical Center, talked about salaries and the nurse residency program.

“Pay for nurses will be different, based on an individual’s background,” she said. “We do give credit to those who have worked as a provider, patient sitter, or an EMT (emergency medical technician). If you are chosen for the nurse residency program, there will be a sign-on bonus and you will be given a preceptor for one year.”

A preceptor is a licensed clinician who supervises nursing students during their clinical rotations.

Adrienne Reyes, TSTC’s Nursing program director in Harlingen, said the hospital does an excellent job of training nurses.

“The students get to train at their facilities by participating in hands-on observations and experiences that will help them grow in their chosen fields,” she said.

Alyssa Cortez, a student in TSTC’s Associate Degree in Nursing program, said the hospital offers job opportunities in a variety of specialties.

“If a person decides that a specialty isn’t a great fit for them, they can request to transfer to a different department,” she said. “I work there and recently transferred to the mother and baby unit. But after I graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree, I may move into the labor and delivery section or the intensive care unit because I have experience in medical-surgical nursing.”

Luis Montemayor is also pursuing an associate degree in the program. He said the hospital representatives emphasized the company’s caring attitude.

“I’ve worked at Valley Baptist Medical Center as a vocational nurse for seven years,” he said. “Every single nurse puts their patient first. That’s why I chose to work for them.”

Prospective students have until June 30 at 5 p.m. to submit a completed application for the 20-month Associate Degree in Nursing program, which is offered at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. Any student applying to this program must already be classified as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).

A Vocational Nursing certificate of completion program is offered at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

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