(BRECKENRIDGE, Texas) – Drew Young is ready to show his pride for Texas State Technical College at next month’s SkillsUSA state contest in Houston.
Young, a Vocational Nursing student, will represent TSTC in drug administration and dosing while also supporting some of his classmates, who will compete in medical terminology.
“We are working to motivate each other to do well,” Young said of the contest. “We have a great support system at TSTC. This group in Breckenridge is always working together and willing to help each other.”
Young, of Abilene, is nervous about the contest but said his instructors are the ones who help him prepare the most.
“I am so proud to be representing TSTC and the instructors who are teaching me,” he said. “All of my knowledge is credited to them.”
He also credits his family for leading him to the medical field. Young, who is in his second semester of the program, is currently working as a travel nurse and a certified medical assistant.
“My background for the nursing field came naturally,” he said. “My uncle is a nurse practitioner and mom is a nurse. My mom was teaching me how to check someone’s blood pressure when I was 11 years old.”
When Young is not working, he spends his time studying in order to be a better student.
“If I am not learning, I am not able to strengthen my skills,” he said.
Young’s skills will be put to the test in the statewide contest, something he says will show how well TSTC works with students.
“It is going to be an interesting competition because we are going up against other schools in Texas,” he said. “It will be good to see how we rank, which I know should be good because of our instructors. TSTC is preparing each of us for a career.”
Young said he spends extra time studying the drug administration and dosing chapters in his textbooks and study guides.
“I am studying the material because I will need to be able to comprehend it on paper,” he said. “What makes me the most nervous is not knowing what exactly will be asked on the test. I have to be prepared for how the questions will be formatted.”
Young said the importance of teamwork for SkillsUSA contestants is remembered daily since one person came and spoke to the nursing students.
“We had someone come into class and tell us that not everyone in the room would be walking the stage at graduation,” he said. “That motivated all of us to hold each other accountable and work to graduate. We want to graduate as a group in December.”
SkillsUSA is a professional organization focused on employability, leadership and technical skills that help college students pursue successful careers and be part of a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA has more than 100 categories of competition, ranging from 3D Visualization and Animation to Welding Sculpture.
In addition to the nursing students, TSTC’s West Texas campuses will have students from Emergency Medical Services, Web Design and Development and Welding Technology competing in Houston.
Marchelle Taylor, TSTC’s West Texas SkillsUSA coordinator, is pleased that the students are planning to attend.
“This will be the first time in a few years we are competing in person,” she said. “I am so glad we are back, showing our skills to the state. It will be an exciting time seeing people and watching our students compete.”
When Young completes the Vocational Nursing certificate program, he plans to continue his education.
“I want to work my way up to eventually becoming a nurse practitioner,” he said. “I know it will take time, but I am motivated to complete my journey.”
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, with more than 82,000 nurses in the workforce. 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.