After graduating from college in Ohio in 2016, Kirstyn Warren moved to California to figure out what she wanted to do next.
"There were just so many more opportunities and jobs and things to do out here than my little town in Ohio," Warren said. "Being able to come out here and experience all the events and people, food, sunshine was pretty amazing and that's why I stayed."
After a few months of soul-searching and working for online companies, Warren said her aunt sat her down and had a heart-to-heart talk about Warren's future.
"She talked to me like, 'Hey, you need to be doing something with your life. Why don't you go into nursing and see how you feel about it while you're working towards other aspects of your life?'" Warren said. "And I enjoy it."
Warren learned that her two cousins were enrolled in American Career College's vocational nursing program and visited the Ontario campus one day to see what it was like. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Graduating near the top of her class, Warren said she was glad to have made it through the program with her cohort so she could celebrate with her friends and family.
"It's a huge day. We went through the wringer together, meeting up at 6:45 am for clinical rotations, all the different tests and trying to help each other out," she said. "It's been a journey with these people that you see almost every day. Thick and thin, we did it. We pushed through together, made some friends along the way. We're nurses now."
How did you hear about ACC? Did your cousins tell you about it?
They recommended it. They said it's a good program and that you'll get through it quickly as long as you're keeping up and that you should definitely be able to pass NCLEX once you go through the program. My whole family is in health care. My aunt is an RN. My cousins are LVNs and RNs. My mom's a medical coder. Working in medicine kind of just runs through our blood.
What do you see yourself doing in the future for work?
Travel nurse. I want to travel around, get different licenses in different states and just be able to travel and get paid for it and experience different aspects of nursing.
What's the best part of being a nurse?
There are so much different niches and places and people to see and things to do that it stuck. My favorite niche is treatment, getting to see patients heal, seeing them come in with these wounds that are really terrible and then just progressing into the stages of getting better over the weeks and over the months. That's my favorite part.
What's the hardest part?
Having to console the family when there's a loss, being there for them and just dealing with that moment when people are going through their worst point.
What advice do you have for new or incoming students?
It's a fast program. I would say come in, hit the ground running because once you get here, just push through once you get through you will be a nurse. For getting into nursing, just have an interest in it. Even if you don't necessarily find the clinicals or some of the classes fun, you'll find something. There's always a niche for everyone. I didn't think I was gonna find anything at first either but I found my niche, my classmates found their niches and what they love to do and what they love about nursing.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning?
Definitely (ATI Nursing Education). ATI, ATI, ATI. And pharmacology. Just study a little bit at a time instead of trying to cram at the end when you're overwhelmed with all the tests. And I would tell myself you're gonna make it. You'll get through it. It may seem super tough at first but you'll make it.