While working as a UPS driver, Hal Wright served on UPS’s health and safety committee. During that time, Hal researched ways to improve the health and well-being of the drivers and realized that he enjoyed learning about healthcare. He decided to go back to school and become an RN, and in his pursuit of gaining experience for an RN program, decided to take UTC’s Certified Nursing Assistant course! Interestingly enough, much of Hal’s experience as a UPS driver has been helpful in his healthcare pursuits.
Marah: How did you find out about UTC’s Certified Nursing Assistant course?
H: A quick Google search told me about UTC’s CNA course. My wife is a UTC alumna, and when she saw the university offered the course, she spoke to the quality of UTC’s education.
M: What did you enjoy most about the classroom portion of the course?
H: I enjoyed learning how to be CPR-certified; that’s a useful skill regardless of what industry you work in. Howard High School had a nice vocational wing, with all the tools we needed, for us to use. I was impressed with the setup!
M: What was the clinical externship at Siskin like?
H: I LOVED the externship portion of the course. I was constantly interacting with patients and applying the skills we were taught. The patients all have different personalities. My favorite patients were the hilarious ones who didn’t know the volume of their own voices; we had so much fun! Also, I found learning from CNAs and other medical personnel who had been working in healthcare for a long time to be beneficial. They would say, “Hey, here’s a helpful extra tip. You can use it to build on the skills you already know.”
M: What’s an important lesson you learned in the process of earning your certification?
H: Honestly, I went into the program questioning if I was smart or equipped enough to become a CNA. I can feign confidence all day long, and that’s what I did in the beginning. Here’s the thing—the process wasn’t as stressful as I made it out to be in my mind. I learned that while patients are fragile, my job is just to let them do as much as they can and then assist them where needed. As I gained more experience, I began to see that I do have the patience, ability, and confidence to be a great CNA. All I had to do was take a deep breath and put my skills into practice.
M: What is a lesson you learned from being a UPS driver that you were able to use in your CNA certification process?
H: The delivery truck business is highly stressful. Many trucking companies have high rates of divorce and dependency issues with alcohol among employees due to the high stress. My safety coach at UPS and I centered our platforms around mental health. I learned in the UPS job how to deal with stress in a healthy way. For example, sometimes when you get stressed, you aren’t really breathing. You may be taking shallow breaths, but your body is activating a fight or flight system to where if you can’t run away, you need to fight (thus people getting upset). Sometimes, you just need to take a few deep breaths and say, “I will be fine. I just need to take one step at a time.” Healthcare can be a stressful field sometimes too, but when I was working on exams and mock skills, I would remember what I learned regarding how to deal with stress. You just have to breathe, do the best you can, and deal with repercussions calmly if you make a mistake.
M: What advice would you give to students currently going through the CNA course?
H: At UPS, employees attended driving school. When you drove at the school, you would have to verbalize what you were doing. I felt like an auctioneer as I said what I was looking at, what my eye distance was, and all that. I think that it’s important for CNA students to be verbal while performing their mock skills. Say what you are thinking. By doing so, the knowledge really sinks in. At first you may feel goofy and awkward, but I promise that saying it out loud helps!
It’s also wise to teach someone else what you are learning. That’s how you will know that you truly comprehend the material.
M: What’s next for you now that you’re certified?
H: I have accepted a job at Fresenius Kidney Care where I will be working as a Patient Care Tech. I will be hooking patients up to dialysis machines, monitoring machines, and monitoring patients. After I work for a while to gain experience, I will dive into earning my RN degree.
M: Is there anything else you would share about your CNA course experience?
H: The course was a great opportunity where I made good friends. After being together every day for five weeks, I felt so weird not seeing my classmates every day. We all went to take the exam together because we got so close in the program and wanted to support one another. Passing the CNA exam was the greatest feeling, and I really enjoyed the experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.
Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.