Mom knows best — just ask Sharon Lorenz, who has three healthcare professional certificates under her belt: EKG Technician, Phlebotomy Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She said, “It just fit for me. I was used to taking care of people.”
CPR and first aid procedures were part of her 10-year career as a flight attendant. However, Sharon was encouraged to tackle the healthcare industry when her mother and niece completed the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program together.
“My mom said, ‘Sharon, you really need to get into the medical field. It would be a great avenue for you.’” Sharon enrolled in the EKG program on March 27, 2013, and took her first quiz on her 50th birthday.
She admitted it was scary going back to school after 30 years, but Sharon successfully completed the EKG program — and consecutively registered for and completed two other programs. She is now a state-certified CNA and a nationally certified EKG and phlebotomy technician.
“It opens the doors wider if you do a national certification,” she said. “It shows extreme dedication to skills.”
Sharon said having some of her instructors teach multiple programs offered a sense of comfort. “I think a lot of my success is because of being trained and taught so well,” she said.
Sharon was working as a mobile insurance examiner, taking vitals and drawing blood, during her time in the CNA program, which also includes clinicals at Northside Hospital-Cherokee. As luck would have it, they were in need of a lab tech assistant, and Sharon’s name came up as a possibility since she was a certified phlebotomist. Her first day on the job was May 19, and she said her classroom training helped tremendously.
“Every day is different, and now I’m doing a lot more challenging things,” she said. “Being a mobile insurance examiner – everybody is healthy. Now, being in the hospital, the table has been turned. But I love what I am doing.”
Andrea Cochran, director for healthcare programs, said Sharon’s dedication is something to be admired. “She was such a focused student, and to see her flourish in so many areas is incredible,” Andrea said.
Sharon says a career in healthcare has so many opportunities for those who are interested. From home care to hospitals to nursing homes — she said the possibilities are endless.
“The jobs are so versatile, compared to any other job I’ve ever had,” she said. “You can really streamline it to fit your lifestyle instead of having to fit your lifestyle into it.”
Sharon’s thirst for knowledge is still fresh, and she said the Medical Assisting Certificate program has piqued her interest because of the combination of the administrative and clinical skills training.
“I’ve come this far,” she said. “It would be nice to take it to the next level.”