Apryl Booker graduated from Summit College in November, 2016. She completed the Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program within just one year. However, it was not always a clear road for Apryl. She was born in San Bernardino, CA, raised in Fontana, CA and then came back to San Bernardino as a young adult. There she attended San Bernardino College and became a psychology major. She quickly came to understand that psychology embodied only some of the aspects she was looking for, but not everything. She was not as fulfilled as she had anticipated. At this point Apryl took time to explore other options, changing her major to Child Development and then again to Respiratory Therapy. During this time she also gave birth to a beautiful son who unfortunately suffered from some medical issues. This is when she realized how little she knew about the medical field and yet how much she wanted to know. Apryl was not going to settle. If she was going to pick something, she wanted it to be something she enjoyed and something she could truly make a career out of. With that epiphany, Apryl registered at Victor Valley Community College to complete her nursing pre-requisites.
After juggling full-time school at Victory Valley Community College while raising her son, she found herself at another crossroads. She needed to decide what to do next. It is at this point, during her research, that Apryl came across Summit College. When she asked her friends about the school everyone said good things, so she decided to try it. She did not know at first whether she should do the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program or the Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program. After guidance from both her personal support system as well as the employees at Summit College, she decided on the LVN program. This would allow her to eventually bridge into a full Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
When asked specifically what drew her to Summit College, it was clear Apryl had done her research. She had discovered that the graduation rate and the employment rate at the school was among the highest. She also loved the fact that the staff was all inclusive – everyone worked together as a team. Having fully gone through the program at this point, her admiration for the school still remains true. “Summit is where I actually started understanding math. I am thirty years old and had to use a calculator for decimals and fractions,” she admitted with both pride and a laugh. In her pharmacology course she had a professor that truly broke everything down and took her time to help all students. “If you said you hated math, she made you love it.” This made a big impact on Apryl and was one of the many reasons that led her to develop such a genuine level of respect for both the professors and curriculum at Summit.
Apryl went on to say, “I am a bona fide nerd and yet this school gave me a run for my money. It took a lot of work and many pain-staking nights not knowing how much was enough to know”. She talked about the intensity of the coursework, how it was by no means easy and yet, she would do it all over again. She felt that the professors were amazingly supportive and students had access to tutors if needed. Students also had limitless access to the computers so they could take practice tests to prepare, as well. Overall, Apryl loved her experience so much that she has actually built friendships with her instructors even after graduation. There was one instructor in particular, Michelle Hite, that Apryl was very adamant in praising. “She was so hard on me, she was critical…and she was so right.” It was the type of situation in which the instructor was pushing a student to where she know she could go, even if the student questioned why at times. “She’s just amazing. After I graduated I was able to see how truly right she was. We bonded and we have built a friendship”.
Currently Apryl is working at Highland Care Center of Redlands as a Charge Nurse. When asked what her main responsibilities were, Apryl replied, “Everything my instructors taught me how to do. Everything they ever told or showed me, I do every day”. Within her current role, she takes care of charting, delegation of care, patient integrity and the basic nursing fundamentals. She also explained how important it is to realize that, as a nurse, you are responsible for keeping patients alive, happy and healthy. Another factor that comes into play a great deal is balancing family dynamics and encouraging tranquility on both sides. Documentation is also key and something to be taken very seriously. As a nurse it is something you will be doing most of the time. Apryl recalls something an instructor said to her that resonates with her still to this day, “If you think you checked, recheck.” Every single time Apryl gives medication, that is exactly what she does. If she thinks she has checked something but is not entirely sure, she will check again.
Another piece of advice Apryl would relay to students would be that if you find yourself struggling throughout your program, understand you are new. Seek answers, look for resources. The campus has it all. If you want to be a nurse, you are already a nurse, you just need to learn what it takes. Especially once you graduate from the program, Apryl cannot stress enough how vital it is to connect with the Career Services at Summit. They helped her build a portfolio, create a professional resume and taught her how to highlight her accomplishments to boost her marketability. They have also worked with her to obtain her IV certification and are currently working towards her trach and vent certifications.
Looking forward, Apryl plans on pushing herself even further. This fall she will be going back to school to obtain her Bachelors of Science in Nursing. In the meantime, she is going to focus on being the best mom she can be to her nine and seven year old boy and girl. She will also continue to be knowledgeable and patient in her current role as a Charge Nurse while she works towards making it to the next level as a Registered Nurse (RN). One thing is for certain, Apryl has found her calling. As she describes, “I think it’s a beautiful thing when you find something you can see makes you happy just as much as it makes someone else happy. Something you’re supposed to do. When I found nursing, I felt home. It was everything I was looking for”.