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New nurse graduate is calling all the shots

By Dawn Burleigh

A phlebotomist decided, after years of watching nurses, that she too wanted to do what nurses do.

“I wanted to be an advocate for my patients and have better relationships with them,” Cady Bland, LVN said.

Bland recently received her pin for graduating from the LVN program at Lamar State College Orange (LSCO) with a 4.0 in the nursing program and an overall 4.0 GPA.

“We have had a few students graduate with a 4.0 GPA in the past but not that frequently,” LSCO Director Vocational Nursing Lorrie LeBlanc said.

The nursing program is a strict comprehensive one-year program which has been training nurses for over 30 years.

It is a competency-based program designed to prepare Lamar State College Orange graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN/VN) to be a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). The LVN functions under the direction of a registered nurse and/or licensed physician to provide nursing care to people who are in need of medical diagnostic evaluation and are experiencing acute or chronic illness. Graduates of the LSC-O VN Program are currently employed in hospitals, physicians’ offices, outpatient medical centers, long-term care facilities and home health agencies. The VN Program is ideal for those who desire careers in nursing, but do not wish to spend two or more years in an educational program.

The VN Program is the foundation on which the Associate of Applied Science Upward Mobility Nursing Program is built. The Upward Mobility Nursing Program is a competency-based program whose graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to be registered nurses (RN), according to the LSCO.edu website.

Cady Bland, 28, worked as a phlebotomist for eight years before attending the nursing program at LSCO. Bland is married and has two children.

“They are a huge motivator for me,” Bland said. “Having a child made me want to do more for them.”

For her, that included some challenges along the way. When she was in high school, her mother passed away from cancer. The loss hit her hard and she ended up leaving school.

“I was ashamed of leaving school,” Bland said. “I did get my GED but I did not think I could be a LVN for a long time because of it.”

Now, recently graduated from the LVN program, she is already planning to apply for the Batcheler of Nursing and Science in Spring and is continuing with the RN program now.

While attending school, she juggled being a parent, spouse, caregiver and a student all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

“The LVN program is not a walk in the park for anyone,” Bland said. “Yes, I had my struggles, but I love classmates. They went through a lot and overcame obstacles. I am proud of all those I graduated with.”

Bland was a caregiver to her dad who moved in with her and her family last year after a near death infection.

“My sister sacrificed to give my dad care and to help me with my kids while I was going to school,” Bland said.

Because of her sister, Kelsey Sanders and Bland’s husband, Sean, Bland said they made her want to do the best she could.

“My husband was incredible,” Bland said.

“The main obstacle that the students had during this year was COVID 19,” Director Vocational Nursing Lorrie LeBlanc said. “Students had to change their learning style from face to face lectures and clinical to online learning and virtual clinical experiences during the spring semester.  During the summer semester the students were allowed to attend clinical at the hospital facilities as well as community sites and our simulation lab.  Through this they were able to obtain the required clinical and class hours.”

Bland is employed at Golden Triangle Family Care Center.