From the Classroom to the Clinic
Courtesy of Nicole Mansell, Terrell ISD Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
If you ever find yourself being admitted into the hospital one day, you will breathe a sigh of relief if Ava Foren is assigned to be your nurse. Ava, who is a senior at Terrell High School, shared she has always been interested in helping others since she was a little girl.
As a sophomore in high school, Ava enrolled in a general Health Science class which sparked her interest in the nursing field. At the end of the year Ava applied and was accepted into the district’s Health Science Academy, which is one of the many career pathways that the district offers its students. For the past two years she has been taking classes to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse.
The Health Science Academy, which is located on Hwy. 34, is a partnership between Terrell ISD and Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) and instructors are TVCC faculty members. The Academy houses high school juniors and seniors and currently has 45 students enrolled - 41 girls and 4 boys.
As a junior Ava arrived at school and caught the bus to the Academy where she would spend two hours a day at the facility. That year she was enrolled in various classes to help her earn her EKG certification. “The entire year we spent learning basic health skills, we practiced administering EKGs and then we sat for a two-hour certification exam” she shared. “I was so nervous for the exam, but when my results came back and I saw I had passed, I was so excited!”
Now as senior, Ava spends three hours a day at the Academy and is enrolled in a pharmacology and medical assistant class. This semester she is studying various medicine classifications, how to ensure instruments are properly cleaned and sterilized and the most exciting part - learning how to draw blood and give injections. During the spring semester, Ava will begin clinical rotations at Baylor, Scott and White Family Medical Center in Terrell and then sit for her Medical Assistant certification exam in May.
“I am really excited for clinicals,” Ava said. “I will be able to put into practice all that I have learned. I will be able to go from a simulated environment to a real-world setting.”
Ava shared that she is grateful for the experience she has received at the Health Science Academy. “It is more than just reading from a textbook,” she said. “Only about 25% of what we learn comes from a textbook, the other 75% is from hands-on, real-world experience.”
Her nursing instructor, Ms. Killgo has nothing but praise for Ava. “Ava is one of my top students,” shared Nurse Killgo. “She models what a good nursing student should look and act like and takes the safety, privacy and concerns of the patient first. Ava is quiet and calm and has a gentle touch, which is a wonderful trait. She is going to be a fantastic nurse.”
After high school, Ava shared that her goal is to attend the University of Texas at Austin and obtain her Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her dream is to work in a hospital setting. No doubt Ava will achieve this goal. Not only is she ranked third in her class, she is also on track to receive her Associate Degree from TVCC in May - two full weeks before she earns her high school diploma.
Ava also expressed that she is grateful for the opportunities she has been afforded while attending Terrell ISD. “There are lots of opportunities that students can take advantage of here in Terrell,” she shared. “My teachers and counselors have listened to me and have helped me to find my path. I am confident in my abilities and am ready to go from the classroom to the clinic.”