Finding a Passion for Patient Care with G3

G3 Patient Care Blog

After graduating high school with her associate’s degree through dual enrollment, Haley Zirkle found her calling by enrolling in a nursing program using G3 tuition assistance.  Because her financial obligations were covered by G3, she’s been able to focus on honing her clinical skills and paving her way to the Intensive Care Unit.

Learn more about her heartwarming journey below.

Why did you choose Mountain Empire Community College?

I chose to study at MECC because it offered an affordable, accessible healthcare program here in my community. I didn’t have to go anywhere, it’s just right here at home.

Would you recommend dual enrollment to students considering college?

I would definitely recommend doing dual enrollment in high school because it gets all of the prerequisites out of the way. You can just focus on the career study program that you’re in.

I graduated high school with my associate’s degree in general studies, so I had all my prerequisites done upon entering the RN program at Mountain Empire. I was able to immediately begin my nursing classes.

Why do you want to go into nursing?

Initially, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do nursing. But upon entering the program and going through the clinical setting, I really fell in love with the patient interactions. Don’t get me wrong, all the cool stuff you get to do and see is amazing, too, but I really love talking to people and building on those patient relationships.

What are some of your favorite classes in the RN program?

The first year of the RN program is mainly your skills classes, so you’re learning how to put in IVs, catheters, nasogastric tubes and things of that nature. It was very beneficial to learn those skills before entering the clinical setting, so those have been my favorite classes so far. I really enjoyed the hands-on learning.

How did it feel when you learned that you would be going to school for free through G3?

It was a huge relief and gave me more ambition. G3 has helped me break through a financial barrier I had and allowed me to attend school, which is something that may have been an issue had I not received the grant.

There was no logical reason not to come to Mountain Empire and take advantage of every opportunity that this program could give me. It’s free education, who could pass that up?

How do you think G3 will benefit you in your employment and earning potential?

I think employers will appreciate that I’ve already been in the nursing setting and have seen real life situations.

I think the earning potential that comes with G3 will allow me to eventually move out on my own and spend more time on my hobbies and extracurricular activities outside of work.

What are your goals after finishing the G3 RN program?

My goal upon graduation is to get a job in the ICU and work on getting a firm nursing foundation and building on the clinical skills I’ve learned in this program. I really like the ICU because you get to see the clinical progression. You see people at one of their lowest points, and you get to help them feel better and build on that patient relationship.

I also plan to further my education at some point. I’d love to attain additional certifications such as the Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN).

What would you tell someone who was considering enrolling in the G3 program?

Get to Mountain Empire and enroll in any program covered by the G3 grant. There are endless possibilities, and the G3 grant helps every step of the way.