Six Spartanburg Community College students take the Patient Care Technician oath Dec. 13 during a pinning ceremony held in Gaffney. Graduates of the certificate program include Manda Bolin, Maranda Bolin, Cassidy Case, Bobbi Peterson, Ashley Cool and Melany Williams.
After five months of long night drives from Union, Ashley Cool paused with her classmates Dec. 13 to celebrate another step on her path towards a nursing career.
Cool is one of six students to participate in a pinning ceremony as the first graduates of a new Patient Care Technician certificate program at the local Spartanburg Community College campus. Graduates included Manda Bolin, Maranda Bolin, Cassidy Case, Melany Williams and Bobbi Peterson, who also received her certified nursing assistant certificate during the ceremony.
A patient care technician supports nurses and medical staff by monitoring vital signs, drawing blood and providing basic patient care.
For the past five months, Cool, 24, drove an hour from her home in Union to the Spartanburg Community College campus to attend 3- hour evening classes four nights a week in Gaffney. She worked a full-time job on the weekends, balancing caring for her two young sons with late-night study sessions.
“When I took the certified nursing assistant class, our teacher at Spartanburg Community College encouraged us to continue our education by signing up for the patient care technician class,” Cool said. “I feel very blessed to have a compassionate teacher for the class. I learned a lot about myself. This experience has made me want to become a registered nurse so I will enroll in ECPI (East Coast Polytechnic Institute) in Greenville next year.”
Students completed 64 hours of classroom work, 44 hours of clinical work and have passed two national exams to become certified as patient care technicians and electrocardiogram (EKG) heart monitor technicians. The students will take their final exam for a phlebotomy certification test in mid-January. This will allow them to obtain blood samples from patients in medical offices and prepare those specimens for medical testing.
The Patient Care Technician class allowed students to gain experience at the college’s medical partners Cherokee Medical Center, Union Medical Center, Brookview Terrace, Valley Falls Terrace, and Spartanburg Medical Center.
“We always tell our students that their clinical hours are an extended job interview where they are gaining experience and being watched by potential employers,” said Cynthia
Gray, healthcare program director for SCC corporate and community education. “We have several graduates who have already been offered positions once they pass their certification exams. This education program is a win win situation for both our students and the medical profession.”