In Chamberlain College of Nursing’s SIMCARE CENTERTM, Instructor Mark Garcia guides nursing students as they are challenged to react in real-time to patient scenarios including childbirth, seizures and cardiac arrest.
He understands how to help students gain confidence and hone their nursing skills, as he was in their shoes just a few years ago. Garcia graduated from the 3-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program on the Phoenix campus in 2010 before returning to teach full-time this year.
“Everyday, I get to see growth in my students,” he said. “I don’t need accolades. When someone looks at me and says, ‘Thank you. I didn’t understand this concept before’ – that’s it right there.”
Garcia had always wanted to help people. He came to nursing as a second degree after graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology and working as a paralegal, while considering law school. Ultimately, he found it wasn’t enough. Following in the shoes of his mother, aunts and sister before him, he decided to pursue nursing – and finally found what he had been looking for.
“Even with the amount of time and care we put in as nurses, we will sometimes lose patients or they are readmitted,” Garcia said. “What makes it all worthwhile is what I call ‘the eyes.’ You can tell when someone is truly listening, or when that patient truly means thank you. They say it more with their eyes – words are easy.”
Garcia enrolled at Chamberlain and was impressed by the small class sizes and the personal attention and connections he had with his professors. Following graduation, he joined a telemetry unit and found himself spending a lot of time on the floor teaching.
“Our responsibility and duty as a nurse is to care for the patients that we have, but I believe it’s even more important that we also teach people who would otherwise not have the information to take care of themselves so that they don’t have to see me again in the hospital,” he said. “I don’t want to see people again. I want them to leave me with a better understanding of how to take care of themselves.”
As he continued to gravitate towards the teaching aspect of nursing, Garcia decided to become a nurse educator. He returned to Chamberlain, enrolling in the Master of Science in Nursing Educator Specialty Track. Upon his graduation, he accepted a position as a full-time instructor on the Phoenix campus.
Overall, Garcia says his favorite part of the role is seeing his students develop before his eyes.
“What I wanted when I entered nursing was to help people,” Garcia said. “Now, rather than being able to help four patients per shift as a floor nurse, I can cast a wider net of care. If I can teach students how to treat patients the way that I would like to be treated myself, I am achieving my original goal.”
By Molly Mattison
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