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White Memorial Emergency Staff Nurse Gina Mendoza featured in "Working Nurse" interview

Awards & Recognition

Gina Mendoza, RNEducated with the help of an innovative hospital-college partnership program

Where are you employed? 

I am a staff RN and relief charge nurse for the emergency department at White Memorial Medical Center - Adventist Health in East Los Angeles. I’ve worked there about two and a half years. This is my first job as a nurse.   

How did your nursing career begin?   

When I applied to nursing schools, I was actually placed on a number of waiting lists. I hadn’t considered attending community college, but when I applied to Rio Hondo College, I received an acceptance letter in less than a month. That basically changed my whole plan. 

Six months into nursing school, I quit my job so that I could focus on my education. That was quite a struggle: My husband needed to completely support our family solely on his income. 

Rio Hondo College has an ongoing partnership with White Memorial Medical Center. Their mission is the consistent growth of a community of well-trained nurses. During my second year of nursing school, I applied for a scholarship sponsored by White Memorial Medical Center, Rio Hondo College and the TELACU Education Foundation. 

After a panel interview and intensive application process, I learned that I had been chosen along with nine other nursing students as a scholarship recipient. The scholarship provided a monthly stipend throughout my nursing education as well as the opportunity of a position in the versant program at White Memorial after passing the NCLEX. (The versant program is a comprehensive residency program for new nursing grads.) 

Most of us couldn't afford to spend time working during school, so the extra income was extremely helpful. The scholarship also included training and certification as a medical interpreter, which is a very useful skill. 

You can read the entire interview feature at