WCU-OC BSN Student Spotlight: Erica Martinez

Working full-time as an occupational health nurse for an aerospace company and going to school full-time, Erica Martinez has learned the art of balance. 

“You have to get to know yourself, your study habits and when you learn best,” the West Coast University-Orange County nursing student shared. “It’s keeping that goal in mind, looking straight ahead at it, and not ever wavering.” 

Now an occupational health nurse for an aerospace company, Erica first realized her goal to become a nurse as a teenager while watching her mother undergo chemotherapy for two years.

“I was 13 years old,” Martinez said. “I saw how sad it could be but also that it takes a really strong personality to do that work, and I felt like it was something I could see myself doing.” 

To pursue her goal, Erica began at American Career College where she eventually graduated from the vocational nursing program. At the height of the pandemic, she was ready to take the next step in her education and turned to WCU-Orange County to start the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program. 

“The WCU campus is great,” she said. “It’s beautiful and I’ve been so fortunate to have really great professors.” 

Erica also credits the resources she found throughout her WCU-OC journey for helping her continue to push through. Whether through the Peer Assisted Learning (PALs) program or the California Nursing Student Association (CNSA) she shared that the West Coast community is “all in it together.” 

Once Erica completes the BSN program, she plans to start WCU’s master of science in nursing program. Her advice to other students is to “listen to other people’s perspectives. Just listening to people’s experiences and stories, you can learn a lot from them.” 

While the balance of a full-time BSN student and full-time professional may be difficult to maintain, Erica finds that finding time for self-care plays a huge part in her success. 

“When I have a chance, I do catch up on some true-crime docuseries,” she said. “Recently I’m trying to get into a hobby of building little miniature dollhouses, and that’s been such a stress reliever. It’s how I take care of my mental health.”

WCU cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. 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.