Jaylene Nichols might not have been born to be a nurse, but witnessing the birth of her sister definitely played a part in her desire to be one. That and watching Gray’s Anatomy.
Even though her aunt is a registered nurse at Kaiser, Nichols said she hadn't considered working in a hospital until she got to see what nurses do in real life. A longtime fan of the TV medical drama Gray's Anatomy, Nichols said watching the staff in action firsthand is what really set her future in motion.
“I was seeing things, thinking 'Oh my gosh, this is interesting,'” she said, “so that aspect really changed my life and I was like, ‘OK, I need to get into this setting. What can I do to get there?’”
After looking around, Nichols decided to enroll into American Career College’s medical assistant program at the Orange County campus. Nichols chose medical assisting as a starting point to allow herself as many options as possible in the future. As an MA, she said, you can work with patients or in the back office, and be exposed to all parts of the business.
"Once you get that down then you can see if you want to advance to RN,” she said. “Do I want to be a physician's assistant? So really, MA is a good way to start and see a little bit of everything."
Nichols said the first two weeks of the MA program were a bit of a whirlwind but things soon settled down once she adjusted to ACC’s accelerated curriculum. Nichols had attended community college for one semester and liked the change of pace because it helped her focus on her goals.
"You're just really wasting time and money at some schools because a lot of the programs have waiting lists and this wasn't something I wanted to wait five years for,” she said. “At ACC, if you miss a day of class, it’s like missing a week.”
Now that she’s about to graduate, Nichols said she’s looking forward to working full-time in a growing job market. Before attending ACC, Nichols had a series of small, temporary jobs in retail with no potential for advancement.
“I needed stability in my life, not just little jobs but a career,” she said. “Going to ACC changed the life of people around me, that I take care of, in that I know I'm going to get a good career with this. It's going to help me and the people that I help take care of. It's just setting me up for something bigger in the future. That's why it's helping me a lot.”
ACC cannot guarantee employment. Programs vary by campus. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student. For graduation rates, median debt of graduates completing this program and other important information, visit americancareercollege.edu/disclosures.
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