Camelita Martinez was juggling a job and a family with two small kids in Grand Junction, and worryed that her longtime dream of becoming a nurse was going nowhere. Then the 25-year-old bookkeeper got word that Colorado Christian University was starting a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program specifically for working adults. She could take some of her nursing courses in a satellite classroom in Grand Junction and take others online, right at home.
”I was thrilled,” she said. “I told CCU that this is going to change people’s lives. It’s perfect for me.”
Although CCU’s main campus is in Lakewood, it will offer satellite classrooms across the state beginning and more than two dozen hospitals and other facilities for hands-on, clinical experience beginning this fall.
In Grand Junction, Martinez will be take the elevator to the CCU branch above a bank—far easier than waiting up to two years for a spot in nursing programs at Mesa State College or Delta/Montrose Technical College.
For Martinez, the program at Delta has the added problem of being 80 miles away. “With a job and a family,” Martinez says, “that just wasn’t do-able for me.”
Before learning of the innovative CCU program, she had been discouraged, yet she never lost her passion for nursing. Martinez, who wants to be a labor and delivery nurse, learned first-hand the importance of nurses when she and her husband Jake, her high school sweetheart, had their kids, Chyen, now 7, and Diego, 3.
When she arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital for Chyen’s birth, Martinez started hyperventilating and passed out. She’ll never forget the two nurses who helped bring her around.
“They didn’t look down on me; they took the time to explain what was happening,” she said. “They helped me to see: ‘OK, I’m not dying!’ They walked me through everything. To think that strangers will take such good care of you—that’s what made me want to be a nurse.”
Now that she can begin her nursing program at CCU, she is spreading the word to friends who also had to put their nursing dreams aside because of long waiting lists and travel times, jobs, and families.
Perhaps no one’s more excited than 7-year-old Chyen, who likes telling people that nurses help people who are sick, and her mom is going to be one someday.
Until now, Martinez would add, “Yeah, someday.”
Now, she can say: “Someday soon.”