While California suffered job loss earlier than much of the U.S. during the Great Recession, health care emerged as a strong sector in the Capitol Region and has remained key to the recovery. From April to May 2014, health services and education added 1,300 jobs – its greatest increase in 12 years, according to Employment Development Department information.

(Photo Courtesy of Patricia Jorgenson)

(Photo Courtesy of Patricia Jorgenson)

As one of the only states with nurse-to-patient ratios, California offers nurses the second highest salaries nationwide. A Capital Region nurse averages $108,230, according to May 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics. For nurses like Patricia Jorgenson, the career offers flexibility, intellectual challenge and meaning. Jorgenson also teaches at Carrington College.

Describe your nursing program.

“I completed my Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree at Sacramento State University. It was a requirement to have completed a bachelor’s degree, nursing prerequisite courses, the Graduate Record Examination, an essay of why we wanted to participate in the program and other stringent qualifications.”

How has education framed your career path?

“I’m an educator and I’m always interested in the next best evidenced-based data for patient care. Continuing my education has made me question why we do things, and if the rationale is sound. I constantly ask myself, ‘What’s next, what else can I do to improve my students’ learning experience?’ I generally find my experience is great when everyone else’s is too.”

Do you have any advice for aspiring nursing students?

“I don’t know who said this first, but remember, ‘With every heroic endeavor there is a symbolic dismemberment.’ To my students, I tell them: believe in yourself. Watch your thoughts, keep them positive. Help your classmates. Work as a team. Study hard. And remember to breathe!”

Carol Terracina-Hartman is a freelance writer based in Sacramento. She covers all things environment. In 2012, she received the Outstanding Service Award from the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. See her work at Examiner.com.


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