Nursing students learn many roles

(The Ranger) Nursing and pre-nursing students learned about the many roles today’s nurses fill in a special daylong nursing convocation Feb. 23 in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center of San Antonio College.

Speakers’ topics ranged from legal concerns to drug regulations, post-graduate education to transitioning into the first nursing job.

“Technology is good, but patient care is better,” Jocelyn Andrews, attorney and registered nurse at South Texas Veterans Health Care System Hospital, said.

She stressed the importance of striving for outstanding patient care. “Nurses are getting away from patient care and focusing more on charting,” she said. She presented nursing students and faculty with various roles in the nursing field from the legal point of view.

Dr. Sarah Williams, president of Texas Nursing Association, emphasized the importance of furthering students’ education to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing for better opportunities in the workforce.

Former student Ben Garza gave students his perspective on transitioning from being a student to a nurse in the field.

A graduate panel of recent graduates and former students offered strategies for success.

During breaks, students participated in drawings for prizes donated by the nursing faculty. Prizes included stress reliever devices, scented lotions and items for the home.

Hurst Review Services provided a review course for the National Council Licensure Exam and shared tips with students for increasing their chances for scoring higher.

Other speakers, such as Christine Nichols, flight nurse at the University of Texas Health Science Center; Linda Garza, certified diabetes educator from Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital; and Melissa Roman, disease management from OptumHealth Care Solutions, Inc., introduced new roles in the nursing profession and answered questions.

Bexar County Drug Court Magistrate Ernie Glenn and Janice Lopez, nurse supervisor at the Restoration Center, presented legal aspects of the nursing profession as well as information on drug and substance abuse in the field.

Lopez introduced students to the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses, which offers encouragement and assistance to nurses under substance abuse or substance dependency, experiencing anxiety disorders, major depression and other mental disorders.

Lopez described the approach to substance abuse in this field and the options available for nurses dealing with abuse treatment.

For more information on the program, call the Texas Nursing Association at 800-862.2022.

Representatives of Texas Tech University, Grand Canyon University, the University of the Incarnate Word and Our Lady of the Lake University offered assistance to nursing students interested in further education.

Representatives from Project Quest Inc. offered information on assisting students with tuition, child care and books. The nonprofit is funded by the City of San Antonio, Bexar County and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Project Quest, which has provided assistance for more than 130 nursing students at this college, also provides guidance on employment opportunities, résumé building and counseling. The organization invites students from this program to attend its applicant information sessions at 1 p.m. March 12 and March 26 at Sacred Heart Civic Center, 2123 W. Commerce St.

For more information, call recruiter Valentina Arevalo at 210-630-4690 or email

Nursing Instructor Cathy Darr, chair of the nursing student development committee, expressed her satisfaction in the 13th nursing convocation. She said the nurse’s role of bedside patient care has changed and expanded drastically in the last decade, and students need to be aware of multitasking roles.

Darr said faculty and the Texas Nursing Association are working closely with students to ensure an outstanding education.

“Students have an active role in putting this program together,” she said. “It’s hard to do student development when you don’t know what students need.”