“Joyce Morgan pounded information into our heads until we got it. I couldn’t have done it without her,” says RCC student Faith Kindell, who earned a Nursing Assistant certificate and now works at Rogue Valley Medical Center.
Morgan brings more than 30 years of registered nursing experience to her role at RCC, teaching nursing assistants the skills to work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care sites.
Morgan was an Air Force nurse and worked in clinics and acute care hospital settings that included orthopedic, surgical, recovery room, gynecology, and wound care. Morgan, joined the RCC faculty in 1999 and teaches clinical and lab classes and serves as the Nursing Assistant course coordinator. “I am passionate about preparing nursing assistants for the role they play in health care,” Morgan said. “They are the eyes and ears of the medical staff and provide important bedside care.”
Working under the supervision of nursing and medical staff, nursing assistants serve meals, make beds, and help patients eat, dress, bathe and walk. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) also may take temperatures, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure. The RCC Nursing Assistant course prepares students for the Oregon State Board of Nursing certification exam. A high percentage of RCC students pass the exam and earn their certification on the first try, Morgan said, and CNA training can be a gateway to further education and advanced degrees.
While the job market has taken some hits some from the recession, Morgan said opportunities remain and that she regularly gets calls from area hospitals. “They love our students,” she said, and the course always reaches capacity.
According to state studies, in the 2008 average hourly wage for nursing assistants in Josephine and Jackson counties was $12.09, while annual salaries averaged $25,154. “We have students from all walks of life including many looking for a career change,” Morgan said. “It’s a wonderful field and provides an important service in the community.”
RCC Certified Nursing Assistant graduate
Now working as a certified nursing assistant, Faith Kindell recalls how she felt drawn to the health care field all her life. “My mother had some serious medical issues, so we spent a lot of time in hospitals, and I feel comfortable in that setting,” she said. “My heart is huge — I like helping people.”
When Kindell completed the RCC nursing assistant course in June 2008, she received three employment offers and accepted a job working at Rogue Valley Medical Center’s on the general medicine floors. “It’s very hard and challenging but rewarding at the same time. I love it,” she said.
Before attending RCC Kindell worked a range of jobs including waitressing and Internet sales. Now 21, Kindell opted for nursing assistant training for three reasons: It allowed her to quickly start working, explore the health care field, and keep going to school. “I selected RCC because I like smaller schools. It was also financially more possible to pay for out of pocket,” she noted. “The training was very good. It was hard, but it was worth it. Instructors were very helpful and very encouraging. We got a lot of one-on-one interaction,” she added. “All my teachers have been awesome. They are with you every step of the way.
Kindell singles out one instructor in particular, Joyce Morgan, Nursing Assistant course coordinator, who “pounded information into our heads until we got it,” Kindell said. “ I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Kindell passed the Oregon State Board of Nursing certification exam the first time, and now puts in three 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. shifts a week at the hospital. She also takes two classes per term at RCC, working on prerequisites for RCC’s registered nursing program. “I get off at seven and by eight I’m at RCC,” Kindell said. “It’s not easy, but I have to get ahead.” Her ultimate goal is to be a doctor. “I’m aiming high,” she said. Meanwhile she enjoys immersion in a hospital setting. “I continue to learn something every night. I love taking care of people. It’s worthwhile,” she explained. “I’m not saying it’s all hearts and flowers — it’s not. It may sound corny, but I love what I do.”
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