Learner Spotlight: Tess Ventura, Nurse of the Year

Nurse has clipboard on lap and holds hand of patient

Thirteen years ago, Tess Ventura watched helplessly as her father died of a heart attack in her ER. When they brought him in to the hospital, Tess did all in her power to restart his heart, but with no success.

After this life changing experience, Tess needed to get away from it all, so she moved from the Philippines to the U.S. Here, she slowly but surely got back into the medical field. She started by passing her nursing boards. She was still tentative about going back into the medical field again, but her passion for healing the sick was too great. Soon, she was working as a cardiothoracic nurse and loving every minute. It was at this point that Tess decided to earn her master’s degree and nurse practitioner license.

Opening Doors Through Education

Earning her degree opened more doors for her as she was hired by the medical director of the hospital she worked with to lead the critical and pulmonary care group after graduation. She did this and began training nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacy students. This job brought Tess much humility, teaching her that degrees and doctorates do not make anyone “better” than anyone else. She learned most of all that true success comes from doing your best in whatever career field you find yourself in.

While Tess does not find her self-worth in titles, she does recognize the importance of furthering your education. As a nurse, the more education you have, the better you can help your patients – and, in Tess’s case, the better you can train incoming nurses. She feels that education is an investment that you can take with you anywhere, making it a priceless commodity in today’s healthcare landscape.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice at GCU

Tess had gotten some of her degrees from other institutions, but as she searched for where to complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice, she came across GCU. She had been looking at a number of prestigious universities, but GCU’s motto caught her eye. The short sentence “Degree programs that fit your schedule, Christian values that fit your soul” intrigued Tess. She was excited about the prospect of furthering her education while simultaneously enriching her faith. GCU incorporates healthcare, faith and flexibility in all of our healthcare programs, making us a clear choice for many prospective nurses.

In addition, GCU’s online DNP program fit perfectly with Tess’s busy schedule. Taking classes online allows her to fit her education around her schedule, making it doable to work and get a degree at the same time. GCU’s online DNP program is relevant and accredited.

Becoming Nurse of the Year

Tess was recently named Advanced Practice Registered Nurse of the Year by the I-Help Foundation. This prestigious award means the world to Tess. She is incredibly humbled and grateful that so many of her colleagues, fellow nurses and leaders in her life would nominate her for such an award. She feels that this award is something she shares with all the people who have helped her get to where she is right now, including GCU.

In the future, Tess hopes to continue healing the sick, teaching new nurses and helping put into practice policies to uphold current nursing standards and protect nurses in the workplace. Her medical journey is incredible and inspiring. She went from losing her father in her own ER to winning Nurse of the Year a short 13 years later. Despite feeling incredibly discouraged and hopeless, Tess was able to restart her life and rekindle her passion for healing others.

When asked what advice Tess has for up-and-coming GCU nursing students, she said, “It is a journey; it has its ups and downs. When you’re down, don’t stay down, come up. When you’re up, stay up and pull someone up with you. Your journey will be much more meaningful and you will appreciate every stage.”

GCU is proud of the achievements of our students and alumni. If you want to learn more about Grand Canyon University’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, please visit our website or click on the Request More Information button on this page. Or feel free to read our Nursing program reviews at GradReports and US News.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.