San Jac Certified: Nursing Alumna Teaches Future Nurses
12.16.2015 | By Andrea Vasquez
As a pediatric nurse, Laura Soto has always found herself in a teaching role. Whether it was teaching new parents how to care for their newborns or showing older children and their parents how to take care of certain health issues or injuries, Soto naturally fit into the teaching role. Now she will be combining the best of both worlds and will embark on a nursing teaching career after finishing her Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington this month.
An alumni of San Jacinto College’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) program, licensed vocational nursing program (LVN), and LVN/Paramedic transition to associate degree nursing (ADN) program, Soto knew that she wanted to student-teach in the College’s ADN program as part of her last practicum course for her master’s degree.
“I’ve been a nurse for eight years, and I’ve always liked to teach,” said the 28-year-old. “I’ve loved working at a large teaching hospital with the nursing students, so I knew becoming a teacher within a nursing program was the path I wanted to take to further my education.”
For Soto, the biggest benefit to her student-teaching experience was being able to relate to the ADN nursing students. “I tell my students to take advantage of this opportunity because this is last time you’ll ever get any basic bedside care, anatomy, and other core nursing concepts and technique training. The rest of your educational path is basically you teaching yourself once you get into your BSN and MSN programs. Now is the time to ask all the questions you want when you’re right in front of someone who can help you right then and there.”
Soto also believes it’s important to emphasize the importance of communication and diversity appreciation with today’s nursing students. “There’s so much that nurses do that’s not in the textbook. You’re responsible for other lives, so you need to know what’s going on in every health aspect of your patient’s care. Sometimes medical professionals don’t communicate with each other so you may have to be the one to facilitate that communication for the safety of your patient. Nursing is not just about giving patients their medicine and making sure your assessments are done. There are also a lot of psychosocial and emotional components involved that you have to incorporate in order to care for your patient to the best of your ability. Houston is also one of the most diverse cities in the country, so your patients will come from a lot of different cultures, and you have to be willing to respect and adapt to that.”
As she prepares to graduate, Soto looks forward to starting her teaching career. “I want to get my feet wet first and start teaching some basic nursing courses, then possibly a pediatric course in a nursing program, then some geriatric courses. I may go back and get my doctorate, but I want to start teaching first. Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers you can have, and ultimately, I want my students to learn to be adaptable in any situation, because in nursing, you will never have the same day as the one before.”
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.