Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2001
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127

Senate Nominations Committee approves Sen. Lucio's constituent to Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners - Ms. Rachel Gomez, L.V.N.

AUSTIN, TX--On Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2001, the Senate Nominations Committee approved the appointment of Ms. Rachel Gomez, L.V.N., to the Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners after state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, confirmed her last year.

Ms. Gomez, who was not required to appear before the Committee, was initially appointed to serve on the board by the Governor in May 2000 and subsequently elected to be vice president of the board. Members of boards and commissions appointed during the interim must wait until the legislative session to be confirmed first by the Nominations Committee and then by the full Senate.

The Harlingen resident is employed by Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville. Her professional memberships include the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Board of Directors of the Valley Aids Council, and the Business and Professional Women's Club. Ms. Gomez has additionally served the Rio Grande Valley as President of the American Cancer Society of Harlingen and as a Board Member of the Texas A&M Nutrition Program in San Benito Texas.

"I am proud to have a woman of such fortitude and dedication to the medical community serving on this board," said Sen. Lucio. "I applaud her efforts and offer her my full support as she represents the needs of the Valley and of the whole state."

Mr. Gomez's involvement also includes serving on a special task force of the Texas Nurses Association and as a representative of the Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners to the Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses.

Explaining why she remains so active in service organizations despite the demands of her career, she said, "I firmly believe that if I am going to belong to an organization, I am going to be involved and make a difference. "As an appointee by our now President and then Governor, George Bush, I owe it to the people of Texas to protect them and make sure that we have good reliable care for them. We as a board are there to protect the public, and I intend to do all I can to get good nurses and make sure that all nurses get the education they need to give good care."

The Board of Vocational Nurses was established in 1951 and is a member of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The board has disciplinary responsibilities for those currently licensed by them. About four times a year the board meets to review complaints and cases as part of its disciplinary role. Its members also examine and issue licenses to vocational nurses, establish minimum educational standards for such nurses, renew licenses and approve vocational nursing programs in hospitals and institutions.

Ms. Gomez also intends to address the nurse shortage in Texas. She said, "Nurses now have a variety of choices. The many different jobs available make it easier for them, which while it is great for them, employers can't keep them. Other contributing factors to the shortage include low pay, very long hours and schedules that do not permit the flexibility for them to spend more time with their families."

Other problems plaguing the nursing profession that Ms. Gomez cited are insufficient staff to run nursing programs and insufficient financial aid for many who want to enter the profession but cannot afford the tuition.

Ms. Gomez is married to Dr. Manuel Gomez, Jr., retired superintendent of schools. They have a daughter, Cindy Harbour, who is employed as a coach with the Lorena Independent School District. She is married toTodd Harbour and the couple has three children, Jonathan, Stephen and Aaron. Their son is Gene Michael Gomez, M.D., and he practices child and adolescent psychiatry in Mobile, Alabama.

Ms. Gomez's term expires September 6, 2005. The full Senate is expected to confirm her soon.

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