In recognition of National Health Education Week (October 18-22), The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) celebrates the hard work of its Health Pathway students, graduates, staff and faculty as well as their contributions to the region’s health workforce . Encompassing credit programs like Feeding with milk, SMU, Medical laboratory technology (MLT), and more, and continuing education certificates for the workforce in a variety of specialties such as Phlebotomy, CNA / GNA, and ECG / ECG technicians, the health path at CSM is a wide range of medical training for a number of careers in different demand. Some students begin their careers while still in college, others complete two years with CSM and continue their education with certifications at CSM; while medical assistants and phlebotomists can become certified in a matter of weeks or months.
Christian Carston plans to work towards equity in health care
For Christian Carston, of Waldorf, his choice to study nursing at CSM was motivated in part by a desire to re-engage in his education, as well as his determination to work in an area where he can ensure that communities with people of color have equal access to quality health care – a mission inspired by the instructors of the CSM nursing journey.
“In keeping with the college’s vision, the nursing program strives to be the region’s premier choice for accessible, inclusive and innovative nursing education,” confirmed CMS Nursing President Sara Cano. “Our nursing program is dedicated to reducing disparities in health care through the development of a strong and diverse nursing workforce and we pride ourselves on the diversity of our nursing program that matches the demographics of the southern Maryland region and exceeds national data for the nursing workforce. ”*
“After taking a few years off-state leave, I found my way to the College of Southern Maryland to graduate,” Carston explained. “CSM has given me the opportunity to become a more focused student while managing my other responsibilities outside of education. My experience with CSM has been phenomenal. I really appreciate the CSM community. From staff to teachers, whenever I needed help, there was always at least one person ready to lend a hand.
Like many CSM students, Carston endured hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I encountered many challenges during my time at CSM, from losing my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic to diagnosing my son with autism. Still, I was able to stay committed to my goal of completing my associate degree here at CSM. This is only possible because of the flexibility that the CSM allows students, especially non-traditional students like me. Over the past few semesters, I have been able to take courses entirely online, which makes managing a full-time job and parenting a toddler much more manageable. I have also found a great support system in the Men of excellence group at CSM.
Carston said he plans to graduate from CSM with honors and complete his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.
“From there, I look forward to working in my community as an emergency room nurse and ultimately as a flight nurse,” he said. “My main goal in life is to continue to make my education a priority and to serve as a role model for my son to understand that his dreams and goals are possible.”
MSC alumnus Kayla Carlyle of Upper Marlboro works full time as veterinary technician while continuing his studies in the MLT program at CSM. Carlyle said she wanted to become whatever the MLT program would allow her to become, including microbiologist, hematologist, blood banker, virologist, parasitologist, with expertise in clinical urinalysis, body fluids and biochemistry.
“I was fortunate to have found the opportunity to link what I learned in class about blood banks and transfusion medicine to help animals at work as I am helping to start a bank of animal blood to bring safer blood transfusions to pets, “said Carlyle.” Although I study human medicine, I was inspired to do this work in veterinary medicine because I have a foot in the two worlds.”
Carlyle also holds an AA in Business Administration from CSM (’17), serves the region as a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and is a musician.
“The CSM has changed my life,” she said. “The teachers are really amazing and inspiring to me. Over the years, I have participated in the [Student Government Association], I have used the teacher’s office hours on many occasions, and I love the new CSM Cafe and library.
But it’s CSM’s MLT program that Carlyle has her eyes set on today.
“I finally found a passion for clinical laboratory science and pathology and recently decided to take the plunge and commit to attending medical school someday in the hopes of becoming a pathologist. Without this program and CSM, I don’t think I would have ever been able to find my passion let alone the courage to become a STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] student because I come from a non-STEM background. Upon completion of this program in May 2022, I will be able to work as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist while I transfer to George Washington University for a bachelor’s degree.
Lynn Williams said her passion for learning ignited in 1990 when she got her GED [general education certificate]. Some 24 years later, the Leonardtown resident earned her associate’s degree in Personal services of CSM… and I continued.
“After I graduated as an associate at CSM in 2014, I immediately transferred to what is now UMGC [University of Maryland Global Campus], “she explained.” I got my bachelor’s degree with magna cum laude distinction in just over two years of studying and I knew I wanted to continue my education. “
In May 2021, Williams received her Masters in Health Psychology, graduated with Distinction, and was a candidate for Major in her Class. Because of her roots at CSM, she knew that “learning lasts a lifetime”, and working at the CSM as a clinical practicum coordinator and adjunct professor of psychology allowed her to do what she really wanted to do: “Ignite and cultivate a passion for lifelong learning in my own students.
“I really identify with my students as a coordinator and teacher because I too have a lot of experience in learning to juggle family, work and school among other unexpected challenges”, Williams said.
To prepare for her first classes this year, she said she immersed herself in research to understand the issues facing healthcare students today. In that research, she shared, it was found that students pursuing health science programs exhibited an increased amount of stress and anxiety, compared to other students in all other non-related programs. health.
“From what I’ve read, it seems that today’s healthcare students are prone to double stress as students and on the front line in clinical placements, even more so compared to other healthcare workers, ”she explained. “Add to that the pandemic and sometimes these are three major stressors for our students (college, frontline worker and pandemic). “
Research fueled Williams’ passion.
“My ultimate goal is to help bridge the gap between psychological and physical health among academics and as an alternative health care practitioner,” Williams said. “Health psychology was already becoming an increasingly sought-after degree program, but demand has increased since COVID. There is great support for the challenges our students face in the health journey at CSM and I am proud to work with like-minded colleagues and other faculty who strive to teach our students to practice self-care as rigorously as they practice patient care. “
* According to a 2017 National Nursing Workforce Study conducted by the National Council of State Nursing Boards (NCSBN), 19.2% of registered nurses (RNs) are from minorities. At the time of the study, the RN population consisted of 80.8% Whites / Caucasians, 6.2% African Americans, 7.5% Asians, 5.3% Hispanics, 1, 7% from two or more races, 0.4% Native American / Alaska Native, 0.5% Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander, and 2.9% other nurses.
“The MSC nursing program is a competitive admissions program with the top 72 applicants admitted each semester,” Cano explained. “Among these CSM students, nearly 40% come from minority backgrounds. Current nursing student population data indicates 59.5% White / Caucasian, 13.5% African American, 8.1% Asian, 10.8% Hispanic, 6.8% of two or more races, 0% Native American / Alaskan and Hawaiian / Pacific Islander, and 1.4% Unknown. . “