Senior earns CNA certification, gains medical experience

Senior Justin Rowe received his Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification while enrolled in the Hammond Oliver program. During that time, he has had the opportunity to experience the duties of a nursing assistant and build upon those experiences for his future career.

“Right now, I plan on going to A&M and enrolling in their biomedical science program,” Justin said. “After that I plan to enroll in medical school and hopefully practice as an orthopedic surgeon for the A&M football team.”

Despite the difficulties of a career in the medical field, Justin fully embraces the struggle.

“Nurses have a very hard job and nobody really appreciates it,” Justin said. “Going through the CNA program made me respect what nurses do. It gave me an idea of what nurses experience, and this is the basic level of what nurses go through. There’s a chain that nurses climb up and CNA is the lowest level.”

Justin’s health science teacher, Erin Wright, recognizes his leadership abilities and charisma amongst his peers, especially when aiding his patients.

“He is a natural leader and his classmates look up to him,” Wright said. “Justin is very bright, but even more importantly, he is naturally curious, hardworking, and has a sincere desire to help people. Those are qualities shared by every student I have taught who is now a doctor.”

For Justin, this desire to help others persists even when there is nothing in it for himself.

“Nurses do the dirty work,” Justin said. “That includes cleaning beds, helping patients get ready for their morning routine, brushing their teeth, and occasionally you might have to feed a patient. Basically, nurses help them with their day-to-day responsibilities.”

The Hammond Oliver program gives students the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in class with demonstrations and real life training. Wright believes the best path to education is through this hands-on approach, not only to enhance the learning experience, but also to teach students the value of connecting with patients.

“It’s one thing to learn about anatomy, infection control, and coping mechanisms, but it’s quite another to actually get to apply what you have learned to providing care for another person,” Wright said. “Justin has always been an outstanding student, but I think becoming a CNA has helped him grow as a person.”

Earning his certification was more than just an academic goal for Justin, it also provided him with the opportunity to develop his interpersonal relationship skills with patients.

“It’s been said that when you get your CNA certification, you’re a better people person,” Justin said. “You can talk to patients better, and I did that to advance myself. Later on I’d like to be an orthopedic surgeon, and if I had those people skills, that’s a plus.”

Even though Justin believes the values gained from nursing exceed the struggle in which those values are attained, he also believes there is a stigma in nursing, leaving many people fearful of the duties they must face.

“Just jump in,” Justin said. “There’s gonna be some stuff that you think you’d never do, but just have an open mind about it. It really pushes your character because your patients are dependent on you.”