Sometimes, “Plan B” ends up being the best option. For Melissa Amavisca, her contingency plan put her on an alternate path to the same destination. The Harrison High School graduate knew from an early age she wanted to enter the healthcare field. “I’ve always had a passion for people and helping others,” Melissa said. “I always wanted to become a nurse.”
After graduating high school, she took the conventional route and enrolled at KSU and began working on her undergraduate core studies. The original plan was to enter KSU’s renowned WellStar School of Nursing. However, after several years of applying to no avail, Melissa began to explore other options. Upon receiving our Course Catalog magazine, she attended one of our Open House events to learn more about the continuing education route.
“I was interested in the CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program at first because I wanted to work in a nursing home to gain some experience,” she said. “I took the CNA program with no intent of taking anything else.”
A Rewarding Discovery
What happened next was not part of Melissa’s plan. “I fell in love with KSU’s College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) and the staff here,” she said. “I came back and took Phlebotomy Technician and EKG Technician.” Her drive and determination didn’t stop there. After completing each certificate training course, Melissa successfully passed the state and national exams for each program. Additionally, she acquired a CPCT (Certified Patient Care Technician) certification to boost her résumé.
Hands-On Training to Real-World Experience
As a result of the skills and knowledge she learned through her coursework, Melissa landed a job as a phlebotomist at a local blood lab after a classmate alerted her of it. She later was promoted to office manager before the lab shut down. A few days after losing her job, Melissa received a phone call from WellStar Paulding Hospital in Hiram and was hired as an emergency department technician. She says she can do everything a nurse can except medicate patients.
“[Working in the emergency room], we touch patients more than anybody,” she said. “We are the eyes and ears of the floor.”
Melissa said working in the ER has been an eye-opening experience in that you realize how many sick people are in need of care. She lists her favorite parts of the job as getting to see people get better. Melissa also appreciates the camaraderie of the close, family-oriented staff and she thrives in the chaos and unpredictability of the ER environment.
Melissa is planning to go back to school to receive an associate’s degree in nursing or surgical technology. She said, “I eventually want to be a traveling nurse.”
Forever grateful of her CCPE education, Melissa said the real-world, hands-on training was the most valuable aspect of the programs. “These classes are a stepping stone to entering the healthcare field,” she said. “I’ve discovered that companies really appreciate the KSU logo on your certificate.”
- Certified Nursing Assistant
- EKG Technician
- Health Coach
- Medical Assisting
- Medical Billing and Coding
- Medical Office Assistant
- Personal Trainer
- Pharmacy Technician
- Phlebotomy Technician