2023 Grad Spotlight: Jennifer Trevino

When a kitchen fire sent Jennifer Trevino’s mother to the hospital with second degree burns, 16-year-old Jennifer was told she could not translate to assist in communication between the hospital staff and her mother because she had no medical background. In the hours that passed before a translator arrived at the hospital, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) was the only medical staffer to look in on Jennifer’s mother. This experience was the impetus for Jennifer to become a medical assistant at the age of 19. 

After working at an emergency department for many years as a unit secretary and phlebotomist, Jennifer determined that she could be of more help to her Latino community if she became a registered nurse. She enrolled part-time at Gaston College in fall 2018, starting with a CNA class and a few prerequisites for the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. She will graduate with her associate degree on May 12, and will go on to the RN to BSN program, with the intention of earning her master’s degree in the future. “My career goal is to be the best bedside nurse I can be for my patients,” she said, “and to continue to grow and learn as a nurse through certifications and continued education.” 

The nursing program at Gaston College gave Jennifer the skills and confidence to pursue a profession that will enable her to help people who may be facing medical crises, like her mother did years ago. “The best part of my time at Gaston College was finding my strength again and realizing I could still make my own dreams come true, even as a 30-year-old mother of three,” said Jennifer. “I found support from classmates who became the best of friends and staff who encouraged me to never give up.” 

Returning to school to earn her associate degree is a decision Jennifer is happy she made. “To anyone who is on the fence about going back to school, I want to say that you can absolutely achieve it,” she said. “Don’t let your fears or negative opinions hold you back. It’s never easy and it may take time, but it is possible. 

“And as far as nursing goes,” Jennifer continued, “if it is your calling it will keep calling you. Don’t give up on your dreams.” 

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