Teacher uses real world experience to create healthy learning environment

Erin Garcia

Hammond-Oliver, a high school for studies on human sciences located on blue campus, holds many opportunities for students, and CNA (certified nurse assistant) and intern teacher Erin Wright believes the school is extremely beneficial.

“Hammond-Oliver gives students the opportunity to discover if a health career is a good fit for them while gaining hands-on career training and earning dual credit,” Wright said. “Students are well prepared to enter college, and they can be ready for a job in high demand such as Nurse Assistants, Pharmacy Technicians or Veterinary Medical Assistants as soon as they graduate.”

Wright has taught at Hammond-Oliver since it opened in 1993, but has also worked in other medical positions before.

“I also worked as a Nurse Educator at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, mainly with patients with diabetes, and in staff development and education at Saint Francis Medical Center and Carle Foundation Hospital,” Wright said. “My first teaching position was as a CPR instructor in 1982.”

Besides teaching, Wright also has a background in the medical field.

“I am a Registered Nurse and a Certified Diabetes Educator,” Wright said. “I have worked in medical and cardiovascular care, oncology, orthopedics, and endocrinology as well as in medical education and administration.”

Wright is one of the sponsors of the Health Occupations Students of America or HOSA, a student club open to anyone interested in a medically related career.

“HOSA helps students develop leadership skills, [as well as] interact with other students who have similar interests, compete [at] regional, state and national levels, participate in service activities that enhance health and wellness, and earn scholarships, all while having lots of fun,” Wright said.

Wright has a passion for teaching and loves working with students who have similar interests.

“I love teaching,” Wright said. “I really enjoy the students, my colleagues, and having a job that keeps teaching me new things. I enjoy helping students discover their passion for the healthcare field.”

Wright holds high standards for current Hammond-Oliver students and is proud of those who have already graduated.

“I hope to see happy, successful, caring professionals working to help patients and their community,” Wright said. “It’s wonderful to see Hammond-Oliver graduates now mentoring current students. Our graduates make me proud and happy every day.”

Students such as Hammond-Oliver senior Regina Flores speak very highly of Wright and believe her skills outside of teaching are very beneficial to them.

“Ms. Wright is an awesome teacher because she has experience in teaching as well as in the medical field,” Flores said. “She is very knowledgeable. She’s worked in several different fields of medicine, so she’s a very well-rounded teacher. She knows a lot about everything she teaches us, and always has cool stories to back up her lessons. It really helps us learn.”