Twelve students who recently completed Tri-County Community College’s (TCCC) phlebotomy program had their hard work and dedication acknowledged during an intimate ceremony in front of friends and family on June 30 at the Main Campus in Peachtree.
“I could not be prouder of this group of students,” said Stephanie Reid, phlebotomy instructor at TCCC to the crowded room. “They each underwent 200 hours of training, including hands-on practice with both synthetic arms and actual patients. They are now prepared to enter the health care industry and uphold the high standards expected of them as health care professionals.”
Students donned their dark blue scrubs for the ceremony, where they received their health occupation pins and certificates of completion. In a personal touch during an emotional ceremony, students received their certificates as photos of their loved ones were displayed in the background.
Reid also said each student in TCCC’s phlebotomy program was required to complete an externship, where they gained the opportunity to work in the medical field within the local community prior to their completion of the program.
“The externship is invaluable for our students,” Reid said. “Not only does it give students a chance to gain real-world experience, it also helps build ties in the community which can later turn into careers.”
According to Reid, following their completion of TCCC’s phlebotomy program, students are eligible for national certification as phlebotomy technicians.
One TCCC student who completed the program has already begun a full-time position at Union General Hospital in Blairsville.
“I’ve been working for four weeks as a phlebotomist,” said LaShea Carr, a resident of Hayesville, who takes both curriculum and continuing education classes at TCCC. “I actually was hired before I started my externship with them. They gave me a chance to prove myself and it has gone very well so far.”
Carr said her next goal is to enroll in TCCC’s nursing program and ultimately find a career in neonatal nursing, but she might not have considered the health care field at all if she hadn’t enrolled in classes at TCCC.
“Without the support I have received throughout my career as a student at Tri-County, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today,” Carr said.
For Steven Grant, a resident of Topton, the TCCC phlebotomy class provided a stepping-stone into the medical field at an affordable price.
“It was a chance to break into the healthcare field in a quick and affordable way,” Grant said. “And Stephanie is a top-of-the-line instructor.”
Grant, who previously was employed in the industrial sector, said this career change also gives him more security for the future.
“This is a way to save more money before I retire,” Grant said.
Looking ahead, Grant said he already has plans to take TCCC’s pharmacy technician class as well as a medication aide course.
“The way I see it, the more I know how to do, the more desirable I am in the workforce,” Grant said.
Another student said she felt drawn to TCCC’s phlebotomy program because of the convenience of classes offered.
“It was a great class, I really loved it,” said Ashley Millsaps, a resident of Robbinsville. “It was an affordable option and a good chance to gain steady employment.”
As a mother of three, Millsaps said she appreciated the ability to take 200 hours of training and be prepared to enter the job market.
“The shorter course hours really appealed to me, because as a mother of three I don’t have a lot of extra time,” Millsaps said. “Stephanie was an incredible instructor, who made our classes a lot of fun.”
For Murphy resident, Rhonda Stallard, TCCC’s phlebotomy class presented the opportunity to gain an education in the health care field with an affordable price tag.
“I thought going to Tri-County would be a good way for me to work my way back to the medical field,” Stallard said. “I worked in the field years ago, but this class provided a great skill at a good price.”
Stallard also said her classroom experience was a pleasant surprise.
“I was dreading coming back to school after not taking classes for years and years,” Stallard said. “But Stephanie is excellent. I really benefited from learning from an instructor who has years of experience in the field.”
The next phlebotomy class will begin August 1, for more information or to be placed on the class interest list, call (828) 837-6810.
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