TSC vocational nursing grad on track for life-long career helping others

Texas Southmost College Licensed Vocational Nursing graduate Joie Perez.

Joie Perez grew up listening to her grandmother talk about her decades of nursing experiences and adventures and always thought of nursing as a noble career she also wanted to pursue.

The 27-year-old’s dream finally came true last month when she graduated from the Texas Southmost College Licensed Vocational Nursing program.

“I always wanted to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps,” she said. “She had a great 50-year career and she’s been a great role model for me. I’m so thrilled that I can share this moment with her.”

Before graduating, Perez had the honor of being pinned by her grandmother during the program’s virtual pinning ceremony, which serves as a symbol of the passing of knowledge from instructors and professional nurses to vocational nursing graduates and officially welcomes them into the profession.

“I’m excited to have gotten here. It’s been a very challenging and demanding program,” said Perez. “This is big step toward a life-long career and continuing my education.”

The Brownsville native’s experience in the program was anything but ordinary.

Perez was not only navigating her way through a pandemic, quarantine and remote learning, but she also became a new mother.

“There were times I didn’t know if I could actually graduate. I was having a tough time,” she said. “But my instructors were so understanding, accommodating and supportive, as were my classmates. We all became family on this journey. I am grateful for them and everything they taught me. They’re all a big part of my success.”

She added that her boyfriend also played a huge role in taking over baby and household duties so she could solely focus on graduating.

Despite the challenges this year has brought for Perez as a student in a nursing program, she said she feels more prepared than ever to join the nursing field.

“Remote learning was a huge adjustment, but it taught me lessons in discipline and time management – two important factors in this career,” said Perez. “And we had to get creative to practice our patient care skills also. I used everything from dolls, teddy bears, water bottles and even my son.”

In the new year, Perez will return to TSC to complete her prerequisite courses for the registered nursing program and upon passing her national board exams she will also begin her job search.

“TSC has really opened doors for me,” she said. “I learned medical billing and coding here and now nursing. Because of the college, I have a bright future.”

Perez ultimately hopes to work as a registered nurse in a hospital’s intensive care unit, emergency room or neonatal intensive care unit.

For more information on TSC’s nursing programs, visit tsc.edu.

Spring 2021 classes begin Jan. 18.