Vital Views

It took Ehdzky-Ray Manzano multiple attempts to get into nursing school, but once he did, he made the most of his experience. On the cusp of graduating, he shares how his early failures only fueled him to get better; his time as President of UNLV's Student Nurses Association; and representing men in nursing.

Creators & Guests

Joseph Gaccione
Host, Writer, Producer

What is Vital Views?

Vital Views is a weekly podcast created by UNLV School of Nursing to discuss health care from a Rebel Nursing perspective. We share stories and expert information on both nursing-specific and broader healthcare topics to bring attention to the health trends and issues that affect us. New episodes every Tuesday.

Feedback? Questions? Episode Ideas? Email

Joe G 0:05
Hello and welcome to vital views podcast for UNLV School of Nursing. I'm Joe Gaccione, communications director for the School of Nursing. We created this podcast to help share tales from our hard working fantastic nurses out there. Whether they're students, faculty, staff, alumni or donors. These stories focus on work on the frontlines in the classrooms, in the lab, wherever our nurses are making a difference. But we don't just talk about nursing, we dive into broader healthcare topics to bring attention to bigger issues that impact everybody. We'll talk about ways to keep you your family and your community healthier both physically and mentally. Some are 22 semesters almost in the books and on August 25 74. undergraduate and graduate students will walk across the stage to complete their nursing school journeys here at UNLV. But how does it feel to finally complete the process from your first day in class to fully realizing your dream of graduating? One of our final semester students joins us today to answer that question. Edie ski Ray Manzano. Edie is nearly done with his undergraduate career at UNLV. He's also the president of UNLV Student Nurses Association. Ehd, thanks for stopping in.

Thank you.

I feel like I've seen you more times the past two weeks than probably in the last two semesters.


talk about the final semester, what's it been like for you?

Ehd 1:14
The final semester has been really great. Honestly, I feel like I've had a lot of free time regarding nursing school. I feel like the first two, three semesters were just like, all schoolwork and pretty much that that was it for us. A couple of like Hangouts with my nursing cohorts. But I feel like the fourth semester has been really great. I've been able to go to the gym as more. More often than I was able to combine the three previous semesters, I've been playing volleyball with a couple of nursing students as well at the gym. And we have more autonomy in terms of internships or preceptor ships and like clinical hours, we're able to do a lot more because their scope of practice is a lot bigger.

Joe 1:56
I was going to ask where do you feel like this time management came from? Because I know the first few semesters are getting used to things, finding out how the routines go and figuring out your own routines. But it sounds like and I could be wrong. It sounds like it's a little bit easier for you this last semester than the first three.

Ehd 2:10
Yes, definitely. I feel like the first three semesters it was kind of hard, especially last semester, when we had to split between our OB class and as well as our pediatrics class. The both of those classes were eight weeks each, so we couldn't really plan out time. I feel like the fourth semester last semester is easier because you're front loading one class each month. And I feel like after that, like we were here, the first month of the fourth semester, I was in school like I was on campus from 8am to 12pm, every day, Monday through Friday, and then pretty much 12pm After that, like I would go to the library, like study and then hit the gym after. So I feel like it was a lot more structured. And I was able to find a lot more time to do anything that I want. You know,

Joe 2:59
you mentioned your preceptorship before where are you precepting.

Ehd 3:01
I'm currently at the emergency department at UMC.

Joe 3:05
And for those out there who don't know what a preceptorship is basically, the final semester students get put in these structured clinical sites with faculty observing them, but it's their probably most direct experience to real world nursing than you've had before. Correct? Yes, that's correct. What's the experience been like?

Ehd 3:20
Honestly, it's been really great. We have 12 hour shifts. And the first three would probably be like, take it a little easy, we would just shadow our preceptor. And then as time goes on, he allows me to take on like one patient, two patients three, as long as we're safe. And as long as he trusts he has that trust in me and I have that trust in him. It's been going great.

Joe 3:40
Do you feel like you're more confident now dealing with patients?

Ehd 3:43
Oh, yes. 100% I feel like I won't really get fully comfortable or confident in terms of patient care until I get on that floor until I graduate and actually start practicing with my own license. But I feel like the fourth semester kind of allows me to reflect on how far I've come ever since like my first patient care or first patient interaction during that first semester.

Joe 4:06
is a cool to see, look back and go. This is where I started. And this is how far I've come. Can you see a discernible difference.

Ehd 4:12
Yes, I hope so. I like to tell people definitely the third semester was the hardest for me was probably because I've never taken care of kids before. I've never held a baby. And so last semester, like third semester, just me being able to like hold the baby and like kind of take care of them was pretty cool. So like I've seen I saw growth last semester, but this semester was definitely like more autonomy and like I have more free kind of Yeah, I have more autonomy in terms of like practice.

Joe 4:38
Now. You had a sister who graduated from UNLV nursing a few years back Is she the reason you became a nurse

Ehd 4:43
she's definitely one of the main reasons I've seen what she's had to deal with and the impact that she's made in like people's lives. One of the other reasons I have for like three other siblings. I have a twin brother and two other sisters Dell this one is the nurse that's living in Vegas, but we all took care of my mom got sick had cancer a couple of years ago, she was diagnosed and 2014 2015. Fortunately, she passed in 2017. But we took that as siblings kind of took turns, took turns of taking care of her. And I feel like that made a huge impact of why I wanted to go into nursing.

Joe 5:16
I'm sorry to hear about your mom. But it sounds like through that experience, you have a stronger understanding of what it means to take care of someone else. And to treat someone more or less than to give that empathy.

Ehd 5:25
Yes, definitely, I try to treat each patient that I see and take care of I interact with as a family member and try to kind of advocate for him as much as I would, as I would for my family members. You know,

Joe 5:37
it's got to be easier said than done. Sometimes. Sometimes you get patients that might be more difficult, more challenging to interact with. But really, the mindset is, is absolutely true. What's been the biggest surprise to you from nursing school throughout all your semesters,

Ehd 5:50
this is my third attempt of getting into the nursing program, as folks may not know, like, you only get four attempts before you're kind of like shut out of the nursing program before you can apply to another or go to another college. But I didn't expect to be in this nursing program, being as the university president, being able to go to Utah represent, you know, V SNA. And convention. But yeah,

Joe 6:12
we talked about convention, you're talking about the nsna? Yes, that's correct. That's the National Student Nurses Association, where Nursing Association Student Nurses associations from all over me and they interact, but they also discuss main nursing topics that are present current nursing trends, and they propose ways the resolutions on how to fix them. It's not a legislative board, though, it's just ways to disseminate ideas and to meet let's meet new people. You mentioned SNA your role as President, can you talk about what that role entails and maybe like some of your biggest accomplishments and being in that, in that role,

Ehd 6:44
as President, I try to look at it as we have, like a lot of committees that is part of SNA. So we have communications director, Community Outreach Director, and activities director, a lot of other committees, I try to tell people like, they don't work for me kind of thing, I work alongside with them. So I try to be as as supportive as I can and and try to help them out as much as they can in terms of their projects. Recently, probably the biggest thing so far, would probably be like the ice cream party that we had yesterday, there was a pretty good turnout of students, we were able to give ice cream to like faculties as well. I feel like COVID has really hindered SNA from celebrating students. With all the social distancing mask, everything online, I feel like it was time for us to actually be able to like celebrate and get together as a whole cohort again. So it was nice, I try to focus on like cohesiveness and make sure like everyone is kind of when he caught us, like all together, like we'll all in one spot, you know,

Joe 8:02
and even something as as simple as just handing out ice climbing. I think it goes a long way. You're thinking about other people, not just students, but faculty, like you said, you're reaching out, you're, you're putting forth an extra effort, and it makes people just feel good, that they're being thought of

Ehd 8:17
Yeah, and I try to do as much as I can, you know, especially with like all the tough that the past two years that we've we've had to go through I feel like it was very much needed.

Joe 8:27
Now, the final semester also includes a project called the Capstone poster Fair, where you get into groups to propose a solution to a major health issue. How's that going? What's your topic?

Ehd 8:36
Um, it's been going well, we are currently my group and I are focusing on social isolation and throughout COVID, or just in general, but we're focusing on the population of older adults. I feel like mental health is definitely something that we have to be able to like adjust a lot more especially in this society. And I feel like social isolation is definitely affecting the older adults or like the geriatric population, and we just wanted to focus on how we can better kind of care for them and interact with them without putting them at risk, especially during COVID. So we're trying to our interventions would be like social media apps, telehealth and like how those online interventions are, are they affecting like this loneliness and social isolation and depression status of older adults? Are they like, positively impacting them? Are they getting the help that they need? Or are they not making a difference?

Joe 9:48
Where do you want your nursing career to eventually take you Oh,

Ehd 9:51
my that's a that's a hard question. I don't know if so far I'm I've been in college for almost For six years, I think I'm trying to take it day by day. So I eventually want to go back to school, but I do not know yet. Probably pursue my master's, maybe in education, a lot of these instructors and professors that we have, and School of Nursing at UNLV is very passionate with the way they're teaching and their teaching styles. And I feel like it's made an impact, not impact, not just to me, but like other students as well, and that they want to go into like, part time instructors and whatnot, maybe I'll go that route, maybe get my maybe become a nurse practitioner. But in the next six months, I try to think of it like a short term goal, like I want to be able to work in the emergency department, I feel like that's where I really thrive on the chaos that organized chaos emergency department provides. And hopefully I'll be able to get a job at an emergency department within the next year or so and then hopefully pursue my education in the future as well.

Joe 10:55
Okay. One trend in nursing that we see is the profession is largely dominated by by females and men, even though they're not represented as much there are more men in nursing now than there were before it's slowly grows, it slowly gets higher that number, do you feel like almost like an extra weight or responsibility that, hey, I'm adding to that representation that I'm showing that whatever gender you are, being a nurse, like the position is incredibly important,

Ehd 11:23
definitely, like diversity is very important. Wherever you go, no matter in, in healthcare, business. Anywhere you go, like diversity is very important. I feel like we talk a lot about cultural competency in nursing school, on being able to take care of different patients from different cultures, from different walks of life. And I feel like being a male in the healthcare system is very important. I spent a lot of my time or a portion of my life in the hospital back in the Philippines, I was diagnosed with like, very severe form of like pneumonia, but majority of the nurses that I saw over there were females, but I feel like if I would have seen more male nurses, I would have been able to be able to open up more to them and like kind of relate to them and be able to talk to them like just comfortably. Not saying like I can't really talk to female nurses comfortably. But I feel like if you're part of a specific culture, like a specific gender, you're able to be more comfortable with those people. And I feel like that that creates a huge domain that makes a huge impact in patient care.

Joe 12:31
Final question for you, for incoming nursing students for new nursing students, what is your biggest piece of advice for them?

Ehd 12:37
One, don't give up. Like I said earlier, it took me three tries to get into the nursing program. I struggled with a couple of classes throughout nursing program, I failed countless of exams throughout the nursing program. But I try to tell people never forget, like why you became a nurse in the first place. You know, like, Don't ever forget that reason. And when things get tough, you're definitely going to want to hold on to that reason, and you use that reason to fight back. And in two as nursing students, we are still learning we are learning every day as a person. No matter where you go, you learn something new pretty much every day, especially as a nursing student, you learn you don't really get comfortable and confident until three, four or five years into your practice. So one of my biggest advice would probably be like be a sponge like absorb as much as you can as a nursing student, as a nurse as a new grad nurse as an experienced seasoned nurse, be a sponge just absorb as much as you can.

Joe 13:35
Ehd, thanks for coming by. He and his cohort will walk across the stage at UNLV. Nursing is recognition ceremony, August 25. You can watch that on live stream on our website Thanks for listening, everybody. Have a great day.

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