While in nursing school at West Coast University, Tracy Skinner's friends told her there would be a day when she would know exactly what her calling was.
They were right.
"After my first day in the operating room, I came out and I called my sister and said 'I think I know what I want to do.' Then I had another rotation there and I called her again after and said, 'Yep, this is where I want to be. This is for me.'"
Skinner initially went to school to study criminal justice. But after receiving her bachelor degree, she decided it wasn't the right field for her and took some time to really think about what she wanted to do. During that time, her husband was briefly hospitalized and suggested she could try nursing.
"He just thought it'd be good for me. Then my sister, who is a pediatrician, kind of agreed with it so I thought, why not?" Skinner said.
Starting in April, the WCU-Orange County graduate will begin the Operating Room (OR) training program at UCLA Ronald Reagan.
"The new grad OR training program is six months long and then there's also another six months with everyone from the other departments that got hired," Skinner said. "So after a year, they will place us where they think we'll be well suited."
Before passing the NCLEX, Skinner wanted to know where she ranked among other nursing graduates. Skinner said she thought her resume might not have been as impressive as some of the others submitted but she also knew she had to apply. And that's the lesson she wants other WCU students to know.
"Don't second-guess yourself and think that you're not good enough to do something, because I didn't have the volunteer work, I didn't have working as a [certified nursing assistant] CNA. I was just a normal person and I applied and I got my dream job," she said. "You just have that to keep pushing through it all. You can get through it. It's challenging, you'll be put to work, tested emotionally and physically, but it's worth it."