Read our success stories!
How GMDHP helped launch my career!
Launching a metro Denver healthcare career leads to great things. You will find yourself in a high-demand job with endless possibilities for advancement. Listen to your peers who used healthcare education and training to get where they wanted to go. These stories are from real people in the metro Denver area who have real families, dreams, challenges and opportunities.
A MEDICAL JOB CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT IT TO BE
Jessica trained as a nurse immediately out of high school, but she wants people to know medical jobs can be anything you want them to be. She discovered while nursing that being hands-on with people was not her favorite thing about working. “I like microscopes,” she says, now 38. “I like seeing what might make people sick, and what we can do to fight the disease.” So while working as a nurse in the Kaiser Permanente system in Colorado, Jessica found out about a Kaiser apprenticeship program that would pay her while she took courses to become a Medical Lab Technician, one of the five most in-demand jobs in the metro area. The apprenticeship was key, because her love of learning wasn’t quite enough — at the time she was a single mom with three busy kids, and needed money to support them.
“When something like this is available, take advantage of it,” she tells anyone who is interested in health care jobs. Jessica tells people over and over, it’s all about entry-level, entry-level, entry level. “You can start with something relatively low in your training, and you can build on that,” she says. In her apprentice classes, she says, she has met people who started out as CNAs, or receptionists, or any number of jobs.
You can be a CNA and work while you take more classes. You don’t have to become a doctor right off the bat.
QUICK TO A JOB, MOVING UP FAST
For Breanna, a job as a Medical Assistant is exactly what she needs to support her family as a single mom. But it’s also just a stepping stone. Breanna loves the work in a private medical practice, making $15 an hour and helping patients from children to adults feel better every day. “It makes me a better person,” she says. Her certification took only 10 months after high school. Now she has another goal!
This path has allowed me great opportunity, with a short time in school. I plan to continue my education and become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) next year.
TRAINING COURSES THAT FIT YOUR SCHEDULE
Cori says “There’s something for everyone” in her healthcare job. Cori is a Pharmacy Technician. Her favorite part of the job right now is her work in “compounding,” which is mixing medications or nutrients according to a formula to help patients. Another part of her job is preparing specialized meals for patients at Childrens Hospital Colorado — she loves the idea of helping kids the way she used to help her disabled sisters when they were growing up. That’s what first took her into a healthcare career, the idea of helping more people.
Cori first trained as a CNA, then left work for a while to take care of her own kids. When she was ready to work again, Pima Medical Institute was within walking distance, and had night courses that worked for her family’s schedule. She had always been good at math, and Pima suggested a new career as a Pharmacy Technician, one of the high-in-demand jobs we are looking for students to fill. The work pays better than CNA, especially if you can get into a hospital setting. And there is plenty of variety — Cori says you can work in a retail pharmacy with busy store customers, or in a hospital, or in other settings with convenient hours.
Now my brother-in-law is interested and is going to start taking the classes, she says. I love this job.
ENTRY LEVEL = FIRST STEP
Lindsey started her healthcare career at the unglamorous level of nutrition services, “Nobody likes to say they’re working an entry-level job, but at some point the entry level job will make you proud of what you did, and what you’re doing, and what you’ll become. And then you’ll get that pay you want, and better,” she says. A major local hospital provided Lindsey free classes for her CNA certification while she kept working. “What am I going to lose for free? So I took advantage of it. Was it worth it? Oh yeah! My pay is pretty much double.”
She loves the team feeling of hospital work. “I can ask anyone for help, anyone a question, and I don’t have to be embarrassed or ashamed. Everybody is so friendly, everybody goes in there with good humor. They are trying to make the patient’s night good, and the workers’ nights good.” She loves the direct contact of CNA work. “My favorite part is trying to comfort people and calm people down and let them know it’s ok.” Moving up is a big part of healthcare careers, Lindsey says.
You could be a CNA until you wanted to retire; but a lot of people say don’t stop there, there’s so much more to go for. Part of the reason I wanted to be a CNA is to see what else there is in the medical word.
A GOLDEN TICKET, DEBT FREE
When one career door closed for Kelsi, the fast-growing healthcare field opened another door — a much bigger one! Kelsi, now 34, had been working for a small newspaper when it folded. She thought of careers that would last and got her CNA license, then a phlebotomy license, and was snapped up by the Kaiser Permanente organization who were in need of trained and motivated employees. “The thing that I like most is that I’m a science detective,” Kelsi says. Kaiser offered to train her as a Medical Lab Technician — “a golden ticket,” Kelsi calls it, because it was 100 percent paid for by Kaiser. Now she samples wound and blood cultures looking for clues as to what’s wrong with a patient.
There’s an endless variety of options of where you can go and what you can do, she says about health care jobs. And I have absolutely no school debt.
HEALTHCARE JOBS TAKE YOU AROUND THE WORLD
Lovety knows it’s a long, long way from a refugee camp in Africa to the hallways of a big hospital in central Denver. But for her, the goal is the same: to help people, and to keep learning. Lovety came to Denver from the Ivory Coast, where she had spent time in refugee camps. She spent time with the camp’s medical workers, and helped a Pharmacy Tech serve out polio vaccines to children. It cemented her love of helping people. It took a few years to fulfill that dream, while she immigrated to the U.S. and spent time in grocery store jobs. But she launched herself into CNA training, to return to that dream. “Being a CNA gives you the experience to see if you want to go into nursing, or other areas.” Now she’s nearly finished with a nursing degree, and is exploring working in psychiatry or oncology.
I like to take care of people, it’s something I wanted to do since I was a kid, she says. And with healthcare training, anywhere you travel, you can get a job.
A PRESCRIPTION TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Karly already had one health career, and a good one — with a job in exercise therapy at a rehabilitation center. But she didn’t feel fulfilled. She enrolled at Front Range Community College with the idea of searching for a better career fit. She decided to test out FRCC’s Pharmacy Technician Program to see if that was the one. It must have been — she’s now a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) after completing a residency at a major VA hospital. She’s launched a new career with one of our hospital partners as a clinical cardiac ICU pharmacist.
Karly’s prescription for others who are thinking about making a career move? Find one of our education partners like FRCC.
There’s a positive feeling there, a nice sense of community. The instructors are in tune with students and invested in their success.
IT’S AN IMPORTANT JOB, AND I’M MOVING UP
Anallely may have simple goals, but they are also the biggest and the best goals: Help people. Make a difference. Move up in her healthcare career. Be the first in her family to go to college. Set an example for other young, Hispanic women, including her sister.
Anallely is well on her way to all of those goals, working as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) at a major suburban hospital and taking classes for a nursing degree. While she helps countless patients every day in her CNA job, she uses savings and employer tuition credits to take classes for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
It takes hard work, but it’s a good job. It’s an important job that makes a difference. I’m excited to begin my nursing career.