Mesalands graduates find success in health field

Staff Report

Several graduates of the Mesalands Community College’s Allied Health Program have secured employment in the health industry and successfully completed the national licensing examination.

“I’m very excited that many of our graduates of the Allied Health Program have already obtained gainful employment in these high-demand health care fields,” said Natalie Gillard, vice president of academic affairs at Mesalands. “The success of our Allied Health graduates, transitions to our local health care employers, which in turn, provides additional employment opportunities for our students,” Gillard said.

Mesalands re-established its Allied Health Program in 2015.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, Mesalands had a total of 40 allied health graduates, with a completion rate of 80 percent.

Jennie Hall, a recent Mesalands graduate, obtained her Nursing Assistant Certificate and Phlebotomy Certificate last year. Hall is the first student from Mesalands to complete the national licensing exam through the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

“Health care is a very rewarding field to work in and I am so thankful I could take my Allied Health courses at Mesalands Community College,” Hall said. “The faculty and staff are amazing and everyone at the college has been very helpful and supportive. Last but not least, I have met some wonderful friends.”

Hall works at the Presbyterian Medical Services (PMS)-Quay County Family Health Center and at Mis Amigos Family Services, both in Tucumcari.

Hall said she plans to take her New Mexico nursing aide exam this summer and plans to attend nursing school in the fall.

Anastasia Schmitt, another recent Mesalands graduate, also received her Nursing Assistant and Phlebotomy Certificates from Mesalands last year. Prior to graduation, Schmitt worked at the Quail Ridge Assisted Living Center in Tucumcari.

Schmitt said she had a good support system from the faculty and staff at Mesalands and from her classmates, who made her journey easier.

“My time at Mesalands helped me to fall in love with patient care,” Schmitt said. “This has led me to the decision, that I will become a nurse.”

Schmitt is now living in Michigan and recently accepted a full-time position as a phlebotomist at Mid-Michigan Health.

In 2014, Mesalands received funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistant Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant as one of the New Mexico State consortium members hosted by Santa Fe Community College, to re-establish the Nursing Assistant Certificate and to expand its Allied Health course offerings, including a certificate in phlebotomy.

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