The Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County is devoted to creating sustainable career pathways aligned within our Focus and Watch Sectors. Health Workforce for the Future provides an exciting opportunity for individuals to find not just a job, but build a career within the healthcare sector. HWF is a local project of the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (HPOG) initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Below we’ve highlighted the story of Andrea Galicia, an individual who seized these opportunities to advance her career in nursing.
To learn more about Health Workforce for the Future, please visit seakingwdc.org/hwf-project.
“When I see patients who need help, and work next to professionals who provide that help, it inspires me. I feel compelled to work on my skills and practice growth to become one of those providers who makes a difference in an individual’s life.”
With that perspective, Andrea Galicia, a Medical Assistant at Seattle’s Country Doctor community health clinic, applied for admission to the 3-1/2-year nursing cohort at North Seattle College. “I have watched the devotion and professional strengths of those here at Country Doctor,” Andrea wrote in her application, “and that stirs me to constantly reach and improve.”
Her supervisor at Country Doctor admitted nursing was the right path for Andrea, but lamented, “I would love to have her as my Medical Assistant forever.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Andrea was admitted to the program, with support provided through the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County’s Health Careers for All project, funded under the Health Professions Opportunity Grant initiative of the Office of Family Assistance, at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
After completing six challenging quarters of pre-requisite coursework that began in the summer of 2012, Andrea, a working single mother of three young children, successfully began the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) portion of her training in January 2014. Continually searching for the right balance between work, school, and family life, Andrea ran into academic issues in the 2nd quarter of the LPN program, which prevented her from moving forward with her cohort. Family issues then necessitated a move out of her parents’ home, adding further complications to her plans.
Determined to reach her long-time goal of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), she explored other nursing programs, but kept alive the remote option of being re-admitted to the program at North—which would require starting the LPN year from the beginning. Said Andrea, “I am very fortunate to have a supportive family and many relatives and friends who are willing to help me with the transition of balancing school and family.”
She ultimately received the good news of her re-admission to North, and did return in the fall of 2014. Continuing her work at Country Doctor while in the program, she made it through the LPN year, passed her LPN licensing exam in November 2015, and began the LPN-to-RN ladder program in the fall of 2015.
Only three quarters remained to achieve her goal, but the HCA project was ending and the challenges to reach completion again seemed insurmountable. Thanks to Andrea’s dedication to achieving her commitments—including spending extra time tutoring and relying on the support of friends, family, and the program—she was able to make it through. The WDC and its partners worked closely to ensure Andrea was able to find the resources she needed to stay on track. This included funding and Navigator support for her final quarter through the WDC’s HPOG2 project, Health Workforce for the Future, which helped support completion of the training and credentialing that followed the academic process.
Andrea’s dream of becoming a Registered Nurse was achieved when she graduated in June 2016 and passed her RUN licensing exam in September. She says, “I am dedicated to putting all my efforts and energy into giving back to the community that has taught me so much. It is my passion to do this.”
Andrea is now preparing for an interview for an RN position at Country Doctor’s sister clinic, Carolyn Downs, a community health center serving a diverse and complex patient population in Seattle’s Central District. Andrea is poised to further the health center’s mission of “providing quality, caring, culturally appropriate primary healthcare that addresses the needs of people, regardless of their ability to pay,” and bring greater stability to her own family, nearly doubling her wage from $16 per hour as a Medical Assistant.
“Those who know her well know how fortunate the community is that she persevered to reach her goal through the many demanding times,” says her HWF Navigator, Mike Hayden. “All who know Andrea know the benefit she will bring as a nurse in the Seattle-King County community.”