January 10, 2020
Story and portrait by Joe Vinduska
Edgar Perez always dreamed of working in the medical field and taking care of people, but due to poor living circumstances and a limiting financial situation in Mexico, he settled for pursuing a career in accounting. He had no idea that one day Barton Community College would help him achieve his dream.
Perez moved to the United States from Mexico in 2003 at the age of 28 and worked at a fast-food restaurant and other jobs to pay the bills. He spoke very broken English, but started taking English as a Second Language classes through Barton and eventually completed his Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) certificate in 2008.
"I wasn’t even sure if I was prepared enough to understand the lessons and the material," he said. "The professionals in the Barton Nursing Program were very supportive and helped me succeed. They understood my needs, worked with my English barriers and made me feel confident about my knowledge and skills."
With his new certification in hand, Perez landed a job working for AllStaff, Chartered as a CNA. In 2011, after exhibiting a strong work ethic for several years, he was approached by management at AllStaff about advancing his nursing education through an internal program called "Grow Our Own Nurses." Perez was able to return to Barton at no cost to him and obtained his Registered Nurse certification in 2013. He also is ultrasound certified.
Perez encourages anyone interested in nursing to take that first step.
"Barton will answer all your questions and walk you through all the requirements," he said. "Don’t be afraid to take the challenge. The most important thing in my experience has been touching my patients' lives with my nursing care and producing a positive change in their lives."
While Perez loves helping people first and foremost, he said there is a whole world of opportunity in the medical field for those with a nursing degree.
“There are a lot of benefits of becoming a nurse," he said. "You always have job security, an excellent salary and the opportunity to explore all the areas of nursing such as the surgical floor, clinic, emergency, hospice, mental health, management and being a traveling nurse."
Perez also stressed that there are many other jobs for people with a nursing degree in administration, pharmacy, nurse care management, staffing and that people in the field are in high demand.
"There is a national shortage of nurses," he said. "Even the local hospitals are having trouble keeping enough nurses in the rotation, so having Barton's program is very important to keeping our local facilities staffed," he said.
Applications to start in Barton’s nursing program in the fall of 2020 are due January 31. For more information or to request an application, visit nursing.bartonccc.edu or contact Dean of Workforce Training Kathy Kottas at (620) 792-9355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.