"Workforce Education at Green River was VERY instrumental in allowing me to go back to school, and I'm grateful for all the assistance I received and continue to receive." - Genie L, Green River Student

"Make sure you talk to Workforce Education...They can help in many ways to make things go smoothly and make sense." - Chris S, Green River Student

"Workforce Education...will embrace you and lend a helping hand with open hearts." Elsie Q, Green River Student

"Workforce Education has been there for me since day one!" - Jenny S, Green River student

Feb 21, 2014

Student Success Profile: April Lazara

April Lazara, Practical Nurse

Today's student success profile features a Q and A with April Lazara. April is a Workforce Education student enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at Green River. She turned a job layoff into an opportunity to retrain for a new career. Now, after two years at Green River, she's about to make her dream of entering the medical field a reality. In our conversation below, April talks about her upcoming graduation, gives an inside look at the life of a nursing student, and discusses her plans for the future.

Hi April. Thanks for joining us on the blog. What's it like being a student in the Practical Nursing program at Green River?

April: Thank you for having me! Being a student in the Practical Nursing program is incredibly hard, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time. The instructors are tough but extremely supportive and the cohort I am with has a positive, encouraging vibe. I have two young children, so making time to fit in all my classwork, studying, and family time keeps things interesting. The program itself is so interesting; each quarter we are visiting different clinical sites to practice the skills we have learned, which exposes us to many of the different areas LPN's can work. So far we have worked in skilled nursing facilities and even Western State, a psychiatric hospital in Steilacoom. In the next two quarters we will be working at urgent care clinics, surgical sites, schools, even Veteran's Hospital in Seattle. Also, the Practical Nursing program has a wonderful high-tech lab with simulation mannequins available for students to practice on. It's a little intimidating at first, but it's nicer practicing on an animated person where mistakes are more easily forgiven!

What factors lead you to pursue training in this particular field?

April: I was laid off from my job after 21 years of employment and decided a total career change was in order. I had always been interested in the medical field, but wasn't sure it would be the right choice for me. After taking some of the aptitude tests Green River offers, I was excited to see nursing as one of the top careers I was well suited for. I enjoy helping people, problem solving, and leadership opportunities, and am excited to work in a rewarding, ever-changing field. The medical field is one with a lot of demand; knowing there is great job security in nursing is an added bonus.

How has Workforce Education helped you achieve your goals?

April: When I first started receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits, I knew there were programs in place to allow me to go back to school. What I didn't anticipate was the volume of applications and navigation needed to get all the proper forms completed and submitted by the deadlines the state has set in place. The great staff at Workforce Education was instrumental in assisting me through all the phases and requirements to ensure I was specifically able to get into the Worker Retraining program. If not for the staff and the program itself, I would never have been able to afford the opportunity to change careers at this point in my life. Due to the Worker Retraining program, I can achieve something like this. It was unthinkable just a couple years ago, but now it's a dream come true.

Graduation's in sight. What are your plans after leaving Green River?

April: I am keeping my fingers crossed that Green River is able to get the BSN-RN program they have been working on for the past few years. I would love to continue my education and earn that degree from a college I already love and from instructors that I really look up to. In the meantime, I will most likely start working as an LPN to keep my skills sharp while gaining more experience and finishing the few RN pre-requisite classes I need to get into an RN program. Practical Nursing has many opportunities, but I really want to work in an OB (specifically labor and delivery), where being a Registered Nurse is a requirement.
Funding Tip! All four Workforce Education funding programs--BFET, Opportunity Grant, Worker Retraining, and WorkFirst--support Practical Nursing at Green River.