Vocational Nursing Program at VC’s Gonzales Center opens doors for student

Shea Sibley graduated from Victoria College’s Vocational Nursing Program in December and is now studying at VC to become a registered nurse.

Shea Sibley’s pathway to becoming a nurse is not a traditional one.

Before enrolling in the Vocational Nursing Program at Victoria College’s Gonzales Center, Sibley had already obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. After living in Austin for two years, Sibley followed some motherly advice to pursue a new career.

“My mom is a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Gonzales, and she said I should come to Gonzales and attend the nursing school,” Sibley recalled. “I said, ‘Why not?’ ”

Sibley, who lives in Gonzales, originally planned to attend medical school after obtaining his bachelor’s degree.

“I kind of got caught up in working in Austin,” said Sibley, who worked as an intraoperative nerve monitor during surgeries.

Sibley had grown up watching his mother, Renee Carpenter, come home each day wearing scrubs and telling him how much she enjoyed her job. When she suggested he follow in her footsteps, Sibley didn’t hesitate.

“It just kind of clicked,” Sibley said. “I couldn’t afford to pass up the opportunity.”

Sibley, 33, graduated from the VN Program at VC’s Gonzales Center in December and is now enrolled in VC’s Associate Degree Nursing Program.

Sibley’s plan is to become a registered nurse. To achieve his long-term goal of becoming a CRNA like his mother, Sibley will be required to work in an intensive care unit for one year before attending a three-year nurse anesthetist program in Dallas. CRNAs are registered nurses who receive specialized training to administer anesthesia to patients.

“Attending Victoria College has been a really good experience for me,” Sibley said. “You get so much more one-on-one interaction with your instructors than you do at a large university. I love my instructors. They are very knowledgeable and helpful. It’s so much easier to learn in this environment.”

Victoria College’s Vocational Nursing Program is a 12-month certificate program offered on VC’s Main Campus and in Cuero, Gonzales and Hallettsville. The program is fully approved by the Texas Board of Nursing.

Successful completion of the program enables students to take the National Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Satisfactory achievement on the exam qualifies students for licensure as a vocational nurse.

For more information on VC’s Vocational Nursing Program, call (361) 573-3291 or visit