Pictured with VC employees, the Ramirez Family
Three generations from Weimar complete VC’s Vocational Nursing Program in Hallettsville
The Ramirez family tree of graduates from Victoria College’s Vocational Nursing Program in Hallettsville has some new branches.
Brandon Ramirez; his niece, Valerie Ramirez; and her fiancé, Devyn Shorter, were among the 14 students who graduated in December 2023 from the Hallettsville program.
Eighteen years earlier, Brandon’s mom, Barbara, planted the seeds by graduating from the same program and becoming a licensed vocational nurse, or LVN. Her daughter, Brittney Jones, followed in her footsteps by doing the same in 2011.
“There are now three generations of us who have gone through VC,” Barbara said. “I was not surprised Valerie went into nursing, but I was very surprised that Brandon did, too.”
Barbara pursued a nursing career after seeing her late sister, Brenda, endure medical problems most of her life. She has worked in her current role as a field nurse at 1st Texas Home Health in Weimar, the Ramirez’s hometown, for 12 years.
“Since we were twins, I had a lot of testing done to see why she had those issues and I didn’t,” Barbara said. “That influenced me wanting to go into the nursing field.”
Barbra’s daughter, Brittney, works as a charge nurse for TruCare Living Centers in Columbus, while her brother, Brandon, 33, switched careers to nursing after working for H-E-B for nine years. He is now a charge nurse at Monument Hill Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in La Grange.
“I have always loved people,” he said. “My mom had a late career start, too, because she had kids first. She inspired all of us to go into nursing. She’s very intelligent, loving and supportive.”
Brandon’s wife, Whitney, is also a nurse working an opposite shift to his at the same facility. Going through VC’s Vocational Nursing Program with his niece and her fiancé was especially beneficial to him.
“It definitely helped because we carpooled, bounced ideas off each other, and talked through situations,” he said. “The training, experience and opportunities given to us at VC really helped me going into the NCLEX [licensing exam].”
Valerie, Brittney’s daughter, started school at Sam Houston State University as a psychology major before coming home and switching gears to nursing after one year.
“I realized psychology wasn’t for me when I started taking classes,” she said. “I have always liked helping people. That’s why I went for psychology; I could still help people in a different way. I came back and immediately began the program at VC with my fiancé.”
Valerie, 21, also gave birth to a son, Atlas, on Dec. 21, 2023 – one week after graduating. She has since taken the NCLEX, and once her son is eight weeks old, she plans to find a clinical job with stable hours.
Devyn Shorter, her fiancé from Sheridan, works three 12-hour shifts per week as a night charge nurse at Schulenburg Regency Nursing Center. The two plan to earn their registered nurse certification, and Valerie wants to become a labor and delivery nurse.
Brandon, who initially wanted to be an athletic trainer after playing baseball in high school and college, hopes to become a flight nurse, working with ICU trauma. So far, he is thriving in his new profession.
“It’s the little details that VC gave us that help us be caring individuals with good bedside manner,” he said. “It goes way further than any charting. I love doing what I am doing now. What I was doing before wasn’t as fulfilling for me.”
Valerie also feels prepared to take on the challenges of launching a nursing career because of the training she received in Hallettsville, a half-hour drive from her hometown.
“VC prepared us for the workforce with clinicals and experiencing different sites,” she said. “We got to experience the nursing home, the hospital and the clinic.”
Once Valerie lands a job, all five VC graduates from the Ramirez family will be working in the high-demand nursing field, one that pays well and can lead to advancement opportunities with additional training. The median wage for LVNs in Lavaca County (Hallettsville) and Colorado County (Weimar) is $26 per hour.
“VC got me going for the rest of my career,” said Barbara, who went on to become a registered nurse and was named the most outstanding graduate of her class. “VC’s Vocational Nursing Program is a great place to start.”
The application opens in February for VC’s one-year Vocational Nursing Program in Victoria, Gonzales, and Hallettsville. For more information, visit VictoriaCollege.edu/HealthCareers.