Moved to Care

Joey Regino was inspired to pursue nursing after the death of his father

Nursing student Joey Regino, who graduates in December, is president of the Chico chapter of the American Assembly of Men in Nursing and the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s.

Twenty-nine-year-old Joey Regino found his calling in nursing in 2010 when his father became terminally ill. A nursing assistant and “unfocused” American River College student at the time, Regino was moved by the care and respect with which the hospital nurses treated his ailing father.

“I never once thought there was anything else influencing their care,” he says. “They made him feel super special until the day he died. From that point on, I knew that’s the way I wanted to go.”

Regino cleaned up his grades, transferred to Chico State’s School of Nursing in 2013, and spent his first year on campus gauging his ability to hold his own at a four-year college. By the end of his second semester, he discovered his grades were solid and that he had time to spare. “So I said, ‘Okay, getting good grades is no longer enough for me.’”

Looking to give back somehow, he volunteered to care for a teenager with muscular dystrophy at a 2014 summer camp.  At the camp, nursing students from Sacramento State told him about their campus’ chapter of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (MIN).

Intrigued, Regino attended several meetings in Sacramento that next semester. Impressed by the assembly’s focus on service and increasing diversity in nursing, he petitioned the national organization and the University to start a chapter in Chico. The group was given the green light in February, and Regino now serves as MIN’s Chico chapter’s inaugural president.   

Immediately, he and the chapter’s officers looked around for volunteer opportunities in Chico. They landed on the Shalom Free Clinic, which provides basic health care and other services to the homeless, and began offering a free weekly foot-washing clinic there. 

Regino gave tours to prospective nursing students April 11 during Choose Chico!, the campus’ annual open house.

Regino gave tours to prospective nursing students April 11 during Choose Chico!, the campus’ annual open house.

Using basins, soap, washcloths, towels, socks, and shoes they’ve been given or purchased, Regino and the others clean the feet of their “patients” and provide basic hygiene and first aid. Though providing this care has been rewarding, for Regino, it’s the relationships he’s developed with Chico’s homeless that have left the greatest impression.

“We thought they really needed hygiene education and care, because their feet really are their car or bike, so that’s where we were going with it,” he says. “But once we started, it turned into much more. [They tell us about] what happened to them in the war, or something their girlfriend or dog did—what they’re going through, big and small. That’s something that we didn’t expect, but that has been very fulfilling.”

Besides the clinic, MIN members have provided free medical assistance at Chico Oak Youth Rugby games and volunteered at the Chico Boys and Girls Club. 

In early May, after just two months in existence, the chapter was named Chico State's Student Organization of the Year, an honor Regino humbly writes "was pretty exciting for us." He also plans to use at least half of the $2,500 Floyd English Scholarship he received through the College of Natural Sciences to purchase supplies for the foot clinic. 

With only a semester standing between Regino and his bachelor’s in nursing—in December he’ll become the first in his family to earn a four-year degree—he is focused on his post-college goal of working in an intensive care or critical care unit.

In January, he completed an optional 150-hour internship in Oroville Hospital’s intensive care unit, an experience he says gave him much-needed confidence on the floor.  

“While we’re students, we’re not licensed RNs (registered nurses); hospitals put restrictions on you,” he says. “At the internships, they take off the handcuffs. You’re not treated as a student. Now I do have that confidence. ‘All right, let’s graduate already.’”

When asked to recall his favorite Chico State memory, without missing a beat he says it was meeting his cohort “that first orientation day.”

“We all met in Kendall and walked the spiral staircase and met everyone for the first time,” he remembers. “I’ve never had a group of friends like this back in Sacramento. I’m still low key at home, but by virtue of the fact that you’re with the same people for two-and-a-half years, you get close. It’s a vivid memory.”

—Sarah Langford, Public Affairs and Publications 

Video link

What Would You Tell Your Freshman Self?

In this video, seniors share their touching—and funny—reflections on their college careers. Watch the video.


125th Commencement

Four days of commencement ceremonies begin Thursday, May 14. Search #Chico2015 on social media for a live chronicle of events. See schedule.

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