Growing up with a passion for sports, Justin C. was no stranger to injuries. Before turning 18, he faced a broken leg, collapsed lung, sprained ankle, and knee. His appreciation for the nursing staff and the nursing profession deepened with each visit to the emergency room.
“Connecting with the nurses was huge for me,” Justin said. “Having a good or bad nurse can really impact your hospital stay. No patient wants to be here, but trying to make the best of a hospital stay was huge for me. I wanted to join healthcare to really help people on the worst day of their life.”
Justin found his path at West Coast University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the Orange County campus in June 2020. As a WCU student, he valued the close relationships with faculty, particularly with his theory professor and flight nurse, Andrew T.
“A lot of the relationships I’ve grown were developed from the way he interacted with students and wanted the best for them,” Justin said. “He always shared his stories and experiences with us.”
Just two months after graduating, Justin secured a position at a local hospital on their stroke unit, where he has been working ever since. “It’s a community hospital,” Justin said. “We get to know everybody from all different parts of the hospital. Having that community and family makes a huge difference in why I love coming to work.”
Rapidly advancing in his nursing career, Justin assumed a leadership position after working bedside for just over a year. Amidst the pandemic, he was promoted to floor manager, overseeing nearly 100 beds.
With valuable professional experience under his belt, Justin felt compelled to give back to his alma mater and help shape the next generation of nurses. In September 2021, he became the clinical manager of his hospital branch, and in fall 2022, Justin started teaching at the WCU-Orange County campus.
In both roles, Justin has fostered connections between WCU students and opportunities at his community hospital.
“The partnership between West Coast University and my hospital has been phenomenal,” he said. “We’ve done Lunch and Learns. We’ve hired student nurses for CNAs. We’ve done the TIPP program.”
Through WCU’s Transition Into Practice Program (TIPP), Justin has helped students in his hospital gain real-world experience, leading to full-time job opportunities after graduation.
“Being able to help people transition from nursing school into the real world is why I do what I do,” Justin said. “I currently have four nurses that I hired out of our TIPP program. They are student nurses who have become my colleagues.”
Justin plans to pursue his Doctor of Nursing Practice at WCU. His ultimate goal is to become a director in healthcare. “I want to become a chief nursing officer or chief nursing executive. A CNO is the highest position in an acute care setting for nursing.”
WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.