Jean Herman was 26 years old in 1975 when she enrolled in Victoria College’s new Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Program. Herman and 38 other students became the first Victoria College ADN graduating class in 1977.
Herman went on to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and worked as the Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Quality Officer for DeTar Healthcare System for a combined 29 years.
VC has awarded ADN certificates to 2,598 students since the two-year program became accredited in 1975.
Victoria College Communications Specialist Coy Slavik interviewed Herman recently VC’s Associate Degree Nursing Program prepared to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Q: What do you recall most about getting into the ADN Program in 1975?
A: There was a huge interest. Many people wanted to go into nursing. There were 400 applicants, and there was very strict criteria. About half the class were LVNs already. We had wonderful teachers. They were very invested, because the class had to do well for the program to continue. Victoria College was committed to the program from the start, but the Board of Nurse Examiners did assessments and the state would come and watch the students in clinicals. We all knew they were watching us and we knew we were critical to what was going to happen going forward at Victoria College.
Q: What type of students were in the first class?
A: The class was predominantly like me. There weren’t many 18-year-olds. Most of them were at least 22 or 23, and a lot of them were older than that. So you had a more mature student, and that probably helped.
Q: How difficult was the program?
A. It was extremely intense. You didn’t have much fun those couple of years. You’re working very hard. A lot of us already worked full time, and I already had three kids. But you knew you had to dig in, get it done and then you could have your life again.
Q: You recruited nurses to DeTar Healthcare System for many years. What type of nurse has Victoria College consistently produced?
A: Over the past 30 years, I have hired a couple of thousand nurses. We always wanted to get them from Victoria College because we knew we would get a good nurse. They run their ADN Program like a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. It’s wonderful. The program was started right, and the tradition has carried on. If a nurse makes it out of Victoria College, they are committed. They know what to do.
Q. Why has Victoria College’s nursing program been so successful?
A: It was developed correctly. I think it is one of the very best things that ever happened in this community. I would always go to Victoria College first before I would go to any other school. Victoria College always gave us reliable nurses. My most valued degree is still my ADN from Victoria College. I was consumed by it for two years. Victoria College gave me that foundation.
For more information on Victoria College’s Associate Degree Nursing Program, call (361) 572-6435 or visit VictoriaCollege.edu/Explore/ProgramsCourses/HealthCareers/ProfessionalNursing.