“A year out of your life will change your life forever.”
Ethny Valenzuela proudly quotes this statement, and claims to be living proof of its
validity. After just one year of taking Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) courses,
she was able to embark on a rewarding career.
“I was born and raised in Fort Stockton and graduated from Fort Stockton High School
in 2002,” explained Valenzuela. “When I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to
do for the rest of my life. My dad was sick with cancer, and he said, ‘I need a nurse—why
don’t you go to nursing school.’ So, in 2003, I applied to the LVN program at the
Midland College Williams Regional Technical Training Center (WRTTC). Unfortunately,
my father passed away that April. I received my acceptance letter two weeks later.
It was too late to help my father, but I knew that he would want me to help others.
I received my LVN license in the fall of 2004, and that’s how my nursing career began.
All it took was one year out of my life!”
As a nurse, Valenzuela has held numerous positions. Her first nursing job was working
with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System at the Lynaugh Prison Unit in
Fort Stockton. Later, she moved to Alpine and helped to open a health clinic there.
During this time, Valenzuela decided that she wanted to take her nursing career one
step further, so she applied for LVN to Registered Nurse (RN) classes at the WRTTC.
“I remember talking about this decision with my husband,” recalled Valenzuela. “It
would mean that I would have to drive an hour from Alpine to Fort Stockton and back
every day. However, I really wanted to advance my nursing career, so I knew it would
be worth it in the long run. My mother raised me to be tough; I knew that I could
“I will never forget the day I got the call that I had been accepted into the RN program.
It was flu season, and the clinic had been really busy for several days. I was exhausted.
When I was told that I had been accepted, I thought ‘What was I thinking; how could
I possibly be able to handle all this?’”
With the support of her family and scholarships she received from Midland College
that helped to pay for not only tuition and fees, but also books and transportation,
she enrolled in the program at the WRTTC. In 2008, Valenzuela received an Associate
of Applied Science Degree in Nursing and passed the National Council Licensure Exam
(NCLEX) for Registered Nurses.
For the past seven years, Valenzuela has been working at Pecos County Memorial Hospital.
She first worked on a part-time basis and now works full-time in the Infection Control
and Quality Control department. Part of her responsibilities include outreach to
the community to educate on disease prevention, such as promoting flu vaccines.
In her spare time, Valenzuela enjoys spending time with her family, which includes
her husband Joseph, a trooper for the Department of Public Safety, and her three children—17-year-old
Elyss, 11-year-old Ayla and 2-year-old Jayan. In addition, Valenzuela is president
of the WRTTC Alumni Association. She leads the group to promote the WRTTC and the
WRTTC Scholars’ Dollars Scholarship program through such events as a Welcome Back
to School Bash, National Night Out and an alumni Scholars’ Dollars fundraiser at the
Grey Mule Saloon.
“I love being involved in the Fort Stockton community, and we are so fortunate to
have a resource like the WRTTC,” said Valenzuela. “It has so much to offer. For
example, I was able to get a degree to further my career, and my daughter is taking
dual credit courses so that she can earn college credit while she is still in high
school. People need to take advantage of the opportunities it offers.”