Terrence Ordonez

Terrence Ordonez is only a sophomore at Dominican, but in many ways he is a veteran, quite literally and figuratively.

He has transferred from a community college in Seattle into the nursing program at Dominican and yet he already brings a wealth of hands-on experience. Terrence, now 25, is a former combat medic in the United States Army who was deployed to Afghanistan for one year and also served medical missions in the Philippines and South Korea.

Terrence is determined to gain even more knowledge and experience. He wants to make a difference and launch a career in nursing. Dominican was the only school he applied to.

“With the confidence the nursing program at Dominican gives me and the opportunities and experiences they give me to work in different hospitals, I feel like I will not be questioning my abilities when I graduate,” Terrence says. “That’s what it came down. The amount of training provided. They have their own simulation labs here. That’s all on campus. The simulation labs they use are the same exact I experienced as a medic.”

Terrence really studied Dominican before deciding to enroll. He walked the campus several times on his own. He was impressed with the high placement rate for Dominican nursing students. He was struck by the number of hospitals partnering with the nursing program. He was amazed by the amount of diversity among the student population.

Add in the financial aid package Dominican offered to supplement his military educational benefits and the small class sizes on campus and Terrence was sold.

“It was a lot more research than I thought I would do for Dominican, but it was worth it,” he says. “Big classrooms are not my forte. I needed a smaller classroom where I could have one-on-one access to my professor where I feel comfortable and they seem very approachable.”

The goal now for Terrence is two-fold.

One he is continuing on his career path to become a nurse – perhaps in the ER or in pediatrics – after following the suggestions of his mother, father and stepfather – all military veterans – to pursue a medical career in the Army. In Afghanistan he was part of a medic team in charge of tending to the medical needs of a platoon of 43 soldiers. He has a desire to want to learn and do more.

“I want more experience under my belt as a nurse and I wanted to stay in the medical field and my family advised me to get into nursing,” Terrence says. “I just think nurses help more than a lot of medical professions and there are more fields and specialties you can pursue.”

Second Terrence wants to be more actively involved with the community at Dominican than he was in Seattle.  After competing in track, basketball and soccer competitively in high school and the Army, Terrence considered competing on the Penguins cross country team this fall. Instead he decided to keep his commitment to assist a fourth grade teacher at a Napa elementary school. He also is interested in joining a newly-formed Veterans Club on campus.

For Terrence he sees becoming a nurse as his niche.

"I like socializing with people and I wanted a job where I could help people,” he says. “I wanted a hands-on experience. It was a big calling for me."