Realizes Goal of Becoming a Nurse
Maria Ochoa has realized a goal she set long ago. The Silver Springs.
Mother of two has just graduated from Western Nevada College with two degrees: an Associate of Applied Science in nursing, and an Associate of General Studies degree.
“It’s fulfilling a childhood dream to become an RN. It took me a long time; it’s finally here,” Ochoa said.
While graduating with two degrees is rare by itself, the fact that Ochoa has accomplished it while raising two children adds an extra dimension to her achievement.
“It’s a full-time commitment,” Ochoa said. “The program is extremely challenging and geared for someone with no children, no job. You have absolutely no social life after you start the program.”
That wasn’t the case for Ochoa, who has an 18-year son, Rocio, and a 13-year-old daughter, Stacie, with her husband of 20-plus years, Francisco.
“It was very frustrating at times because when you have kids in school, you have parent-teacher conferences to attend, and I couldn’t attend. I had to arrange them by phone and email,” Ochoa said.
She said that what kept the family in order was the help she received from her husband and the communication she had with her children.
“I talked to my kids a lot. Sometimes it’s not the quantity of time you spend with your children, it’s the quality of time,” Ochoa said. “Francisco also was a tremendous help with all of this. For two years he did all of the cooking and cleaning. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have done this without his help.”
In 2006, Ochoa began taking prerequisite classes to be considered for WNC’s nursing program and was accepted in 2011. She was among a handful of additional students who were admitted into the program that year through a Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare grant.
“When I first started the program, I was working full time,” Ochoa said.
Eventually, Ochoa was able to focus on her studies and realize her childhood goal of becoming a nurse. She has employment lined up at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno and will resume her education in the fall in pursuit of bachelor’s and master’s degrees so she can eventually become a nurse practitioner.
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