Archives for April 2015

Student Success Story, Polysomnography at Alvin College

Kaitlin McClurg wasn’t sure about her career. She did know she wanted a profession in the medical career. The Bridger, Mont., native received an associate degree at a Wyoming college but wanted to further her education.

Kaitlin McClurg

Kaitlin McClurg moved from Montana to Alvin, Texas, to study in ACC’s polysomnography program.

“I wanted to try something totally new,” she said.

Searching the Internet, McClurg found several options, but became fixated on a field called “polysomnography” – the study of sleep medicine.

“It’s something that not a lot of people know about,” she said.

McClurg found the best program was at Alvin Community College. She packed her bags and moved to Alvin to join the program. McClurg said ACC was her best option because it accepted the majority of her courses from her previous college. ACC also is preparing her well for the workforce. She is planning to graduate in May.

“It’s been a great program,” she said. “We definitely get a lot of hands-on training. They keep us very busy here. I’ve had much more experience than I felt I would ever get somewhere else.”

McClurg is one of many students drawn to the ACC polysomongraphy program because so few colleges in the United States offer it. Polysomnography is the study of sleep disorders. Graduates help with the treatment and diagnosis of the causes of conditions like narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and insomnia. ACC is the first college in Texas to offer a Polysomnography degree and is one of only 16 to offer it in the United States.

Polysomnography technicians are in huge demand in the workforce, said Georgette Goodwill, ACC program director. ACC graduates have a high job placement rate after receiving their degree, she said.

“All of the students in this graduating class of the Polysomnography Program will have jobs waiting for them upon passing their national registry exam,” said Goodwill.

McClurg is a great example of the many students who excel in the Polysomnography field, Goodwill said.

“Kaitlin has been an excellent student who shows great potential as a Sleep Technologist,” she said. “She has adapted well to the Texas heat and humidity – which is quite a change from the weather in Montana.”

While she is looking forward to graduating and using her education to help patients, McClurg plans to join the Neurodiagnostic Technologist program. Students with Polysomnography and Neurodiagnostic degrees are even more marketable when looking for a job.

“I want to get further ahead,” McClurg said.

A “Couple” of Success Stories from Galveston College

Opposites attract, they say… Perla Oseguera was always college bound and Victor Alvarez could not see himself going to college. Yet, with the two most important women in his life encouraging his talents, Victor was soon to be convinced.alvarez

After graduating from Ball High in 2011, Victor, a valued member of the wait staff at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Conference Center, wanted to ask his high school sweetheart to marry him. But, he knew that her ambitions involved a serious path in higher education with her sights set on becoming a registered nurse (RN) from Galveston College, and eventually, receiving at minimum a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Victor’s older sister persuaded him that he had the “right stuff” and should join her in college – and become the first two in their family to graduate with college degrees. Reluctant at first, Victor became more interested when Perla graduated from Ball in 2013.

In summer of the same year, they married. Perla was working for a local chiropractor and discovered that nursing was in fact the career for her. Her success at Galveston College came rapidly. She was eligible for Universal Access through the Galveston College Foundation and received two scholarships, the Marionette Beyah Memorial Fund and the Nielson Music Scholarship.

Victor chose the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Certificate program with an Associate Degree. He was awarded a Pell Grant toward completion of his studies. Victor credits Rodrigo Santoyo, Instructor of Developmental Math at Galveston College, for getting him through his math courses and Mr. Ronald Foster, Program Director for HVAC, for his success with the advanced certificate program. His supervisors at Moody Gardens promoted him five months ago and he is now working as a technician in the Air Conditioning Department.

Perla continues to work while pursuing two Associate Degrees at Galveston College, her first in General Science and a second in Nursing. Perla says that, thus far, her favorite courses were taught by Dr. Ana Sanchez, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Program Coordinator, and Elizabeth Tapp, Instructor of Psychology and Sociology and Program Coordinator.

Both she and her young husband reflected on the significance of the College library for study. Because of full-time work commitments, Victor and Perla need the library environment to concentrate and work without interruption. Also, both of them meet friends in the Library and enjoy their time together.

For this young married couple, Perla and Victor, the future is bright because of their community college educations. Victor will graduate in May 2015 and Perla in Fall 2017.

Surgical Technology – Real World Training in an Innovative Field

Surgical technologists, or operating room technicians, work during surgical operations under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, and other surgical personnel in all three phases of patient care: preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative case management. A surgical tech job description includes preparing surgical equipment, supplies and medications; passing instruments to surgeons and assistants; operating sterilizers and lights; preparing specimens for lab analysis; and transporting patients to and from surgery. Surgical technologist jobs require the ability to work quickly and accurately. Most surgical activities are carried out during the day, but they sometimes occur during the night shift, or you may need to work on short notice in case of emergency.

Surgical Tech – An Interesting and Life-Saving Career

Constant breakthroughs in surgical technology make for innovative careers for surgical tech. There are different career options with immediate impact on patients’ lives. Many become technical specialists and go into specialized practices such as ophthalmology, neurosurgery or orthopedics. They can work in hospitals as well as ambulatory surgical centers, clinics and physician’s offices. Others decide to work for surgical equipment companies and help distribute the most innovative surgical supplies and medications around the world.

Surgical technologist careers have a bright outlook as healthcare demand continues to growth. Similar to emergency medical services careers, employment is projected to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2022, with a current median pay of $41,790 annually (BLS). Advances in medical technology enable treatment of a variety of illnesses and injuries and call for more surgical technologists to alleviate pain and extend the lives of millions of people.

Hands-on Learning Environment at Gulf Coast Community Colleges

Students must obtain an accredited surgical technology certificate prior to taking the surgical technologist credentialing exam. With a nine-to-twelve-month certificate program, Gulf Coast community colleges provide students an opportunity to train in a realistic, hands-on working environment. Besides lectures, the curriculum emphasizes mock surgery under supervision in actual operating room situations.

Realistic operating environments will enable quick reactions in case of emergency and a stable temperament when working with unpleasant sights, odors and hazardous materials. Frequent practices in such technical settings allow students to become detail oriented, patient, as well as sensitive to the needs of both patients and surgical teams. Additionally, students will be introduced to the latest advances in medical technology, including computers, lasers, fiber optics, electronics and robotics. This all gives students a bigger picture of how surgical tech jobs can help individuals all over the world and make a positive impact on society.

Surgical technologists can create a difference in patients’ lives and make a valuable contribution to society. Visit our surgical technology page for available programs and member colleges to get your hands-on learning experience.

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