Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

Published: September 18, 2023

As early as 16 years old, College of Western Idaho (CWI) Practical Nursing (PN) student, Chelsea Saenz’s, dream job has been to become a nurse.

“I am a caretaker and nurturer at heart,” said Saenz. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people, so nursing made sense.”

Life took a detour for Saenz as she started a family after high school and shifted her focus to raising her three children as a stay-at-home mom for the last 20 years. But she never let go of her aspirations.

As her children got older, Saenz, now 38 years old, decided it was her turn to head back to school and follow her dream.

Initially planning to apply for CWI’s Registered Nursing (RN) program, Sanez missed the application deadline due to a recent move to the Treasure Valley. However, she found a silver lining when she realized she could still pursue her dreams of a career in the healthcare field by applying for the College’s PN program.

“I think everything happens for a reason and I was meant to become an LPN first.”

Now in her third, and final semester in CWI’s PN program, Saenz’s experience has been nothing short of amazing. Although intense and fast-paced at times, Saenz said the instructors at the College have been helpful and encouraging to make the workload doable.

“You must put in the time and effort, but teachers are always available to help and support you in any way if you reach out. The instructors at CWI want you to succeed. They are willing to work with you if you need extra guidance and support.”

The program’s curriculum trains students to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) by providing them with tools and instruction to provide patient care, education, and emotional support to patients and their loved ones. Students, like Saenz, are provided with a combination of theory and laboratory instruction, as well as clinical experience in the area's healthcare facilities. 

Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). Upon passing this exam, they will be licensed to practice nursing as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Saenz said the program’s labs and her experience with clinical training have also been great ways to learn hands-on with equipment and interact with other nurses, as well as be in settings of what may happen in a real-world situation. But one of the standout aspects of the program is the confidence it’s helped her build.

“One of my favorite moments of the PN program is just the excitement of passing my first semester. I felt so much joy and it was such a proud moment for me, but also such a relief. I thought, ‘Okay, I got this. I really can do this!’”

Saenz is grateful for the tools CWI has given her to successfully move forward and pursue a dream she has had for so long. Once she completes the PN program she plans to take the NCLEX-PN exam, begin her career as an LPN, and apply to an LPN-RN bridge program to continue her education.

“Because of CWI, I will be able to reach my goal of becoming a nurse and start a career in the field I’ve always dreamed of having!”

She encourages those interested in or curious about the program to apply and see what they can achieve too.

“Take that first step, you won’t regret it! I know how scary it can be, but it will be worth it. If I can do it, you can do it!”

The application period for CWI’s PN program’s Spring 2024 cohort is open through Wednesday, Nov. 1. The program requires a supplemental application process in addition to applying for admission to CWI. Details on the application process and program requirements are available on the Practical Nursing program page.

The program is approved by the Idaho State Board of Nursing, and upon satisfactory completion of the program, NCLEX-PN exam to become an LPN.

For questions about applying to the Practical Nursing program, contact your Student Success Advisor or instructors within the Practical Nursing program.

Apply for the Practical Nursing program

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