(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Children are the world’s future, and nowhere is their health emphasized more than in the Nursing program at Texas State Technical College — especially on National Child Health Day on Monday, Oct. 3.
Judy Medrano, a TSTC Nursing instructor, said the students are educated about the development of a child from birth to late adolescence.
“The students learn about a child’s growth and development, transitions through cognitive development, and medical issues that may affect them, and focus on the most prominent,” Medrano said. “Our program has several simulation labs where the students have the opportunity to practice assessments on a newborn and a child. The students undergo clinicals through the newborn nursery, newborn intensive care unit, pediatric unit and pediatric intensive care unit at our area hospitals.”
Medrano said the Nursing instructors also teach effective approaches for communicating with a pediatric patient and the child’s parents.
“We teach the students to allow patient interaction throughout their assessment,” she said. “This helps the child to feel important and allows our students to complete their assessments. The parents also assist the student during the assessment and provide a sense of security to their child during the process.”
Janett Aranda, of Los Fresnos, is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at TSTC’s Harlingen campus.
The third-semester student said her passion for pediatrics became her driving force to enhance her skills.
“My instructors push me to be confident in simulations and clinicals,” Aranda said. ”I am grateful because I have to be ready when I enter the workforce full time. In addition to my higher education, I work as a part-time private-duty nurse with younger children and older individuals as a licensed vocational nurse. It’s been a rewarding experience when I get to see that patient return to normal health.”
Odelia Garcia, a TSTC Vocational Nursing instructor, said the Vocational Nursing program covers topics such as the fundamentals of pediatric nursing when a student does their clinicals.
“This prepares a student for any challenges with pediatric patients that may occur in their career and while caring for them,” Garcia said.
Addressing common child and parent concerns is a key component for success in health care.
Garcia said these concerns first begin with an assessment of the child.
“With parental assistance, a child’s physical exam and a data collection is done through an interview and a visual assessment,” she said. “Child concerns may consist of bullying, inadequate social skills, fear and anxiety, short- or long-term illnesses, and other areas. Parent concerns typically consist of their child’s nutrition, screen time on electronic devices, teen anxiety, depression, delaying of vaccines, obesity, and orthopedic injuries.”
Melani Limon, of Harlingen, is pursuing a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing at TSTC. The first-semester student said her experience in the program has been rewarding.
“There is always something new to learn every day,” she said. “It can be about medication, a patient assessment, or ethical practices.”
The Texas department of Health and Human Services provides valuable information regarding vaccines, health and other topics that relate to the pediatric population.
National Child Health Day is observed on the first Monday of each October as a reminder about the importance of ensuring that a child is active, keeping their vaccinations up to date, and scheduling regular appointments with their pediatrician and dentist.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at its Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. A Vocational Nursing certificate program is offered at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.