Celeste had put her career as a draftsman on pause to raise her five children. When her youngest started second grade, she was ready to return to work, but wanted to try something different. She took a job with Howard County Public School System as a para-educator, but after a few years, decided it was time to pursue her true dream – becoming a nurse. A caretaker by nature, and fascinated by the science of medicine, it seemed like the right fit. Yet, she wondered - could she do it?
“I am 51 years old and I don’t have time to waste,” said Celeste. “I wanted to have these basic skills under my belt so that I would be comfortable on day one of clinical training.”
Celeste found noncredit courses available through HCC’s division of continuing education and workforce development that would give her some experience and confidence, before officially starting the nursing program. She began with the Certified Nursing Assistant course, focused on basic patient care skills. Next, she registered for the Advanced Patient Care Skills course, for more in-depth training in specialized patient care and procedures.
“Taking these courses up front made my learning process so much easier,” she adds.
A resident of Howard County since the early 1990’s, Celeste has become an advocate for the quality education that is available at HCC.
“People have a lot of pressure on them to go to a big university, but I’ve learned that the community college is a great place to start,” said Celeste, whose youngest daughter will begin taking classes at HCC in Fall 2018. “You get top notch support and guidance, and a truly great education here at HCC.”
Celeste will graduate from HCC’s nursing program in Spring 2019. As she is studying, she is also gaining real-world experience as a full-time patient care technician on the Telemetry Unit at Howard County General Hospital; a position she was able to secure based on her noncredit coursework. Long-term, her goal is to work as a nurse in labor and delivery or on the psychiatry unit.
“Working in healthcare, you get to form relationships with your patients every day, and I love that,” said Celeste. “I hope in those little moments, I make a positive difference in someone’s life.”
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.