ACC Graduate Spotlight: Vanessa Siler
As an American Career College student, Vanessa Siler needed someone to give her that first bit of experience. As an ACC graduate, she's now the one who provides it.
Siler began working for Living Well Home Care while still studying at ACC-Orange County to become a vocational nurse. What she thought would be a temporary position has become a career. Three years after graduating, she's now a case manager for the Cerritos-based home care organization.
"They just really care for their clients and look out for their employees," she said. "I love it here."
This June, Siler was looking to fill some certified nursing assistant positions with her company at a West Coast University-Orange County career fair. Openings included positions with hospice care or directly with doctors.
"We're looking for people who also want to get some experience while they're in school, get their feet wet so they don't go into a hospital job without experience. It kind of really prepares you because you have to deal with family, deal with the client, different personalities. Sometimes our cognitively impaired clients can be kind of verbally abusive or combative and you're going to come across that in a hospital, so at least you'll have that experience. It's kind of a shock the first time," Siler said.
"I remember my first encounter with somebody cognitively impaired. That was so scary but Living Well was there to help. My case manager back then, she talked me through it and now I can do that for the students."
As a recruiter, what do you look for at career fairs?
I'm looking for their demeanor. I see them read the sign and sometimes I can see like, "No, I'm not interested already," but if there are some people who are interested then I'll talk to them and explain a little bit more about what we want and ask them about what they're looking for. And if our wants coincide with their needs, we can work with them.
Why did you choose American Career College?
I wanted to get my license pretty quickly. I didn't want to wait for five years at a nursing school. The admissions team at ACC really worked with me — and they worked with my schedule that I had because I was also working full time and they had part-time classes available — which a lot of schools didn't.
Were there other reasons?
Location did help. You guys had a lot of locations. I also visited a couple of other places — I'm not going to name names — I just did not like their environment. We took a tour of them and I didn't like their personnel. They weren't as friendly as you guys and their schedule just didn't work with me either.
Why did you want to work in healthcare?
Healthcare is something I've always wanted to do. I thought I wanted to be a doctor but I know nursing is really where they need us right now. It's more personal, one-on-one. You get to really be there for your patients as a nurse. I think I like the challenge, to push my limits and this is a great field to do it in. People need help; people need people like us.
What impressed you about ACC?
We had great instructors. I could say that for the clinical instructors as well. They were kind of tough but fair, and they really made people be accountable for themselves. You can't get away with anything. You got to be strict on yourself and do your duty.
What's next for you?
I'm still going to school, doing my prereqs at the community college and then I'm going to move on to my BSN. I want to be in wound care.
ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing this program and other important information, visit americancareercollege.edu/disclosures.
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