On the night of October 1, 2017, Mark R. received a phone call that changed the course of his life.
An electrician in Los Angeles, Mark was horrified to learn that his then-girlfriend, now wife, had been shot at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas.
“It didn’t seem real,” he said. “I had my bag packed, threw it in my truck and jammed out there.”
Mark stayed at the hospital with his girlfriend for 18 days before she was transferred to the Loma Linda Rehab Center in California.
“She was shot in the back,” Mark shared. “It hit her kidney, liver, spleen, stomach and nicked her aorta, and somehow, she survived.”
After a few weeks, Mark’s now-wife was sent home and he helped to tend to her wounds, including a 10-inch incision on her stomach.
“That site became infected, so I was doing wound changes twice a day,” he said.
While caring for his girlfriend, Mark was reminded just how meaningful working in healthcare was to him. Prior to being an electrician, Mark worked as an emergency medical technician for four years, and an emergency medical services operations manager for another four years.
“I loved the people and the problem solving,” he said. “I really enjoy helping people.”
Pursuing a New Career Path
After talking with his family, Mark made the decision to return to school and pursue his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. While researching nursing programs, Mark remembered having heard about West Coast University when he worked in emergency services.
“I had a few of my employees that went there,” he said. “It’s like a whole starting over, and this school offered everything.”
Returning to school after years of being away can be a tough transition, but the WCU-Ontario student says he made the choice at a time that was right for him.
“I don’t know if I would have been mature enough to accomplish school at this level as a younger kid. I have children, I have responsibilities, I have stuff going on where it’s like there is no option to mess around,” he shared. “But I’ve never been happier because I’m moving towards a goal.”
Mark says he’s able to balance everything on his plate with the support of his wife.
“My wife is wonderful. She helps me with my schedule, and that’s the biggest thing,” Mark said. “Balancing time has been really nice; my wife has really helped me.”
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.