Van Horn native advances career at Culberson Hospital

By Jared Chanski —

Mary Lou Corrales, a recent graduate of the Odessa College School of
Nursing, has been promoted to a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) position
at Culberson Hospital, said Jared Chanski, hospital administrator.

“Mary Lou worked at the hospital and the Van Horn Rural Health Clinic
for more than 10 years before going to nursing school,” said Chanski,
“and we are very happy that she chose to return to the hospital after
completing her advanced training.”

According to Corrales, she would not want to work anywhere else. “I
love the people of Van Horn, “she said,” and being able to care for them
is my passion. That is why I first went to work for the clinic in
2002.”

After graduating from Van Horn High School in 1999, Corrales attended
Remington College in Fort Worth to train as a medical assistant.

Upon completion of the program, she returned to Van Horn to join the
clinic where she had the opportunity to work with and learn from all the
providers on staff.  “Working in the clinic was a wonderful experience,
and one that encouraged me to continue my education and increase my
knowledge,” she explained.

Not satisfied with her medical assistant role, Corrales decided to
return to school to earn a degree as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN),
first taking program per-requisites on-line in the evenings after
working all day at the clinic. She then enrolled in the LVN program at
Odessa College, traveling to Odessa to attend school full-time during
the week and returning to Van Horn for the weekends.

Corrales is also the mother of two children, Ashley, age 6, and Ryan,
age 12. “I traveled over 10,000 miles during the year-long program
taking my daughter with me, while my husband cared for our son,” she
said. “It was a real challenge, but worth the effort,” she continued,
“and I hope other young people in the community will also go back to
school to learn valuable skills.”

Corrales is married to Dion Corrales, a supervisor for the Town of
Van Horn. She is the daughter of Van Horn residents Augustine and Olga
Gonzales.

While a student at Odessa College, Corrales had the opportunity to
train at both Odessa Medical Center and Odessa Regional Hospital.  “I
learned a lot at these hospitals, but this experience also taught me
that I prefer the environment at Culberson Hospital where I can help
care for friends and neighbors in a really personal way.”

Not one to rest, Corrales will begin another series of on-line
courses at Odessa College in October with the goal of becoming a
registered nurse (RN).