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"As a teacher I hope I can have an effect on how people learn here."

RICK

"I had higher aspirations than just punching a clock at a blue-collar job for the rest of my life"

It's a long and winding road that took Rick Ward, RN, from mail carrier to nurse educator over the last 10 years. In that time, he went from taking a college course "here-and-there" to completing a Master's degree in Nursing Education. He will admit it was a challenge, but he also says that if he can graduate from college, anyone with determination can too.

"No one in my family went to college," he says. "I had higher aspirations than just punching a clock at a blue-collar job for the rest of my life. I always felt I was smart enough to go to college and become a professional."



Rick signed up for a few classes at DeAnza Community College while still a mail carrier. Always interested in the human body and anatomy, Rick went to school at night, in order to earn his Associates degree in Nursing. His love of the profession was just beginning to bloom. He eventually earned a Bachelor's degree in nursing and finally finished his Master's degree from San Jose State in May 2001.

Since 1996, nurse Rick Ward has been working in and around operating rooms. Today, he is the perioperative clinical educator at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara which means he teaches and trains nurses who work in the operating and recovery room. Each year he is involved in training up to 100 operating room and recovery room staff in both outpatient and inpatient settings. He also manages staff development (continuing education for staff nurses) in those departments.

"As a teacher I hope I can have an effect on how people learn here," he concludes. "As a nurse in this environment I like to think I am leaving something behind, maybe the way a school teacher views teaching her kids."