Alex Zuniga

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – As the medical field has evolved over the decades, so has the diversity of its nurses. As more males are pursuing nursing, Texas State Technical College is seeing an increase in the number of men enrolling in its nursing program.

Alex Zuniga, of Harlingen, shares a common interest among his other male classmates in TSTC’s nursing program: to help people. That is why he believes more men should consider the profession.

“I have two brothers who have careers in the medical field,” he said. “One is a nurse, and the other is a radiology technician. They explained the benefit of having a medical career. I noticed medical workers were scared to go to work due to the pandemic. That is when I realized I need to become a nurse.”

The second-semester student knew that TSTC’s nursing program was the right choice for him. He is pursuing a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

Besides learning clinical skills, Zuniga is becoming aware of the reasons why procedures are completed in a certain manner.

“A person who has difficulty breathing needs to be sat up in an upright position instead of lying on the bed,” he said. “That is because sitting upright decreases the pressure put onto the lungs. That helps improve the patient’s respiratory system. If there is not enough oxygen circulating, it can affect the heart.”

Zuniga shared that he had trouble finding his career purpose at one point. Now he is following his dream.

“My son was sick when he was 16 months old, and we did not think he would make it,” he said.

“When I am a nurse, to give that hope to another family will make me feel wonderful.”

Bryan Garza, of Harlingen, grew a passion for the medical field through two avenues. Several of his family members serve in the medical field. He also attended the Harlingen School of Health Professions, where he graduated as a licensed certified medical assistant.

“I went through five years of learning medicine and health, beginning in sixth grade,” he said. “It was natural for me to pursue this field after my earlier experience.”

He is pursuing a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.

Garza said his experience in TSTC’s nursing program has been riveting. He explained why more men should pursue the field.

“If that person would like a profession where they can be an advocate for patients, they should go into nursing,” he said.

Garza likes sharing his medical knowledge.

“I enjoy educating patients about medicine,” he said. “Nursing entails learning, practicing and teaching. I have no problem offering a lecture or a presentation if I am asked to. That is how passionate I am about this field.”

TSTC’s Vocational Nursing certificate program is available at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. Upon completion of the program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination, graduates are classified as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs).

According to onetonline.org, LVN jobs are forecast to increase 11% in Texas by 2028. The median salary for LVNs in Texas is $47,760, the website showed.

TSTC also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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