PCC students thankful for one another

November 24, 2015

Throughout this semester, four PCC Nurse Aid I students and their instructor have become a family, encouraging one another through the lowest of lows and applauding one another during the highest of highs.

“It takes a special kind of person to be able to care for others when they cannot care for themselves,” says Cynthia Ista, Nurse Aid I instructor. “And these women are special.” Within the first few minutes interacting with these women, I knew their instructor was correct. These students are not only driven and passionate in their careers, but in life. I would want these women taking care of my loved ones. They are truly exceptional people with a passion for helping others.

Mytima Respass, Keisha Jones, Genelle Jackson, and Annie Butler have different backgrounds and have faced different struggles, but they all have two things in common—heart and determination.

Respass found her passion for helping others when her mother had a heart attack and later a stroke. She moved back home to help her mother and signed up for the Nurse Aid I program shortly thereafter. Jones, whose due date was the day after this interview, knew her passion was helping others at an early age, but found the nurse aid profession through caring for her disabled son. Jackson watched her grandparents deteriorate and lose the ability to complete small tasks. She wanted to know someone could take care of them, which is why she chose to complete this program. She wanted to help other families in similar situations. Butler came from a homeless situation. After she was able to find her strength, she realized that her purpose in life was to help others.

While these women are thankful to have found one another through the Nurse Aid I program at PCC, they do not know that the people they have touched through their profession are very thankful for them as well. “During clinicals at Grantsbrook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, the residents loved them not only for helping them, but for becoming a friend and a part of their family” says Ista.

“Being a caregiver comes from the heart. It’s not about a paycheck,” says Butler. “We look at each individual we help as a father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, and son, because once we care for them, they become family.”

Mytima Respass, Annie Butler, Keisha Jones, and Genelle Jackson will soon be taking the NNAAP Exam, a thorough exam consisting of a written/oral component and a skills demonstration portion, to have their names added to the state nurse aid I registry. At times, they were unsure if they would all make it to this point, but together they found their strength to push through.

“Pamlico Community College’s Nurse Aid I program has been and continues to be a vital part of the college’s effort to support community needs and provide citizens with employment opportunities,” says Kathy Swecker, Coordinator of Occupational Health & Emergency Services. To advance this initiative, PCC’s Occupational Health Program Coordinator, Marianna Adkins, helped PCC become an approved NNAAP regional testing site, meaning students like Respass, Butler, Jones, and Jackson do not have to endure hours of travel and spend money to become state certified. The upcoming NNAAP exam dates are scheduled for December 2, 8, 16 and January 12, 14, 15. To learn more about the Nurse Aid I program or to sign up for the NNAAP exam, please contact Swecker at kswecker@pamlicocc.edu or 252-249-1851 × 3017.