Tempe, AZ – Karina Garcia is planning on being a registered nurse at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, caring for patients after surgery.
Karina is a 21-year-old senior at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation who expects to graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) this year. She says post-operative care is an area of interest, “So you take care of their incision sites, any dressings that they need – and basically wait until they’re ready to go home and give them the supplies they need like medications, antibiotics, things like that.”
Karina adds that working as a student nurse at the Phoenix VA has helped build her interest in nursing and lead to a possible job opportunity after graduation, “The manager there says he would like to hire me, but I would still have to go through the interview process, and I would still have other people to compete with. I’m keeping that option open but I’m also applying to a Banner (Health) facility.”
Karina was born and raised in Phoenix and graduated from Carl Hayden Community High School. She went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona which provides students with up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses. It also provides specialized mentoring services which involves a “Success Adviser” (mentor) working with the students to overcome academic and personal challenges.
Karina says Barbra Scrivner and previous success advisers have been very helpful throughout her college experience. She adds that the scholarship has helped to limit student debt, “It’s been great. I will be graduating debt-free thanks to College Success Arizona, and I’m very thankful for that. It was able to cover the leftover costs after getting Pell grants and stuff.”
So far as her career path, Karina says watching nurses’ care for a family member inspired her, “I got interested in health care because I have a niece that has Down Syndrome and she’s had heart problems ever since she was born. I spent a lot of time in the hospital visiting her because she stayed there for months – so I kind of liked what the nurses did and how they cared for her. I asked them questions about what they were doing, and decided that I should go into nursing.”
Karina plans on working as a nurse for a few years and then may head back to school, “I do plan on going back to school either for a master’s (degree) or for a nurse practitioner. I think I would like more of a family practice so that way I would be able to have my own clinic alongside a doctor.”
Many college students have overcome adversity and challenge in life. Karina says her biggest challenge was a fire that destroyed her family home during her sophomore year of high school, “I lost everything that I had. I was left with no clothes, no food, didn’t know where to sleep – but thankfully our insurance company was able to find us a place to stay. It was an experience that made me stronger as a person and I was able to overcome it and decided to keep doing my best at school.”
Karina encourages all young people to pursue a college education:
“Even if they don’t know what field they’re interested in – definitely try your best throughout school and get good grades. You’ll never know in the long run how good grades can help you in applying for scholarships and jobs. I believe that if you find something that you really are passionate about, college is easy, as long as you like the topic. If you like the topic you’re going to be interested in school, you’re going to go to class, you’re going to do your homework, and you’re going to graduate.”