Amanda Veselka Furthers her Career Through Pima Medical’s RN to BSN Online Degree Program
Posted: May 9, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker
Not many people know what they want to do in life by the time they’re 10 years old, but for Amanda Veselka, her calling was clear—nursing.
Amanda’s mother was a nurse, so she was exposed to the profession early on. But it wasn’t until her mother fell ill that she truly knew.
“My mother had a liver transplant and soon after broke her leg. We had a wound care nurse come to the house, and every time, I wanted to be right there, watching what was done,” she recalled. “The nurse sent me outside, but my mother told her I wasn’t like other children.”
Amanda took some lessons in wound care from the nurse and eventually took over the job, caring for her mother as she recovered.
Amanda Veselka examines a wound on a man's ankle.
Later, during her senior year in high school, her father fell ill with colon cancer. “I spent two years watching him suffer with that. When his time came, he could either go to hospice or home. I stayed home from school and took care of him until the end,” she said.
Throughout her childhood, she watched her mother care for patients, and later, she watched other nurses care for her parents. It was a life-changing experience.
“That really impacted me. All those nurses took care of my family. The first memory I have was wanting to be a nurse and take care of people.”
In 2007, her mother mentioned Pima Medical Institute to her. “I’d seen a few advertisements, but it was my mom who actually said she’d heard about this school. She told me to get my foot in the door.”
Amanda enrolled in the Pharmacy Technician certificate program at Pima Medical’s Albuquerque campus. She loved the experience and her instructors, so she eventually went back and enrolled in the nursing associate degree program.
Right after graduation, she began working in a rehabilitation hospital in Albuquerque. After two years there, she moved to Houston, where she now works at The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR Memorial Hermann) as a wound care nurse.
“I love it. I do. I was hesitant at first to go into rehabilitation, but seeing these patients and how they first come in versus how they leave—it’s inspiring,” she said.
She’s had some really challenging situations with patients, like one who arrived with a very large pressure ulcer that took over a year to heal.
“His progress would stall out and stop responding to treatment, so it was…what now? What can we do next? Let’s try this. By the time he left, he was completely healed,” she said.
Now Amanda is tackling a new challenge—the RN to BSN bachelor degree program online with Pima Medical, which was introduced last fall. She enrolled in October, 2015 as the first Pima Medical BSN student. She hopes to enter a managerial role after graduation in 2017, but still wants to remain hands-on with patients.
“Right now we’re learning nursing policy. The courses really make you think in a bigger-picture way. If you were a manager of a hospital, how would you handle things,” she said. “I would like to move up and be a manager, but even if I do that, I want to still see patients. I really enjoy that. That’s what makes me happy—to be out there, taking care of patients.”