PASSION TO HELP: Students’ significant youth experiences shape their career goals

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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VIDOR — A car wreck that left her little brother with developmental challenges is motivating Taliyah Ferman to pursue a career in the medical.

Her brother was 11, and she was 12 when the crash occurred.

“My brother has a tube that inserts into his stomach so he can receive food and medicine, and I would help my mom with that,” Ferman said.

The Orange County 18-year-old works at Oakwood Manor skilled nursing facility after school and on weekends to gain hands-on training.

When she began working there, she knew it was going to be a lot of hard work.

“I am on my feet a lot,” she said. “I give the elderly baths or showers, change their diapers. I also enter information for them if they need medicine or breathing treatments.”

The time in the field has allowed Ferman to bond with a man who usually sits outside in his wheelchair.

“He doesn’t really get visitors, and I know he is lonely, so I like to bring him a cupcake and sit and talk to him,” she said. “He told me he had a twin sister and she got beat to death. He just feels really lonely.”

Last fall, clinicals for the Vidor High School CTE course were held at Oakwood Manor.

The work Ferman out into the effort allowed her to recently graduate from the program and high school with a leg up in the profession.

“Clinicals is the hands-on part of the course,” she said. “It teaches the students what they need to know to take their exam to receive the certificate. It takes the students from learning on mannequins to real people, which was so scary because we didn’t want to mess up and hurt anyone.”

Vidor High’s health science department offers various certifications in areas such as certified nurse’s aide, EKG tech, phlebotomy tech and pharmacy tech.

Ferman graduated with a CNA certificate18. She took Principles of Health Science at the beginning of her freshman year and waited until this year to take the certificate class because it is only open to seniors.

Ferman is now enrolling at Lamar State College Orange to pursue her goals of licensed practical nurse and registered nurse.

Vidor High School teacher Misty Franklin pins Carter Ingram. (Courtesy photo)

Finding a home

Carter Ingram moved to Vidor his freshman year from Washington state and began his health science classes to enter the CTE program.

Ingram wants to be a nurse to make an impact on people’s lives and find his purpose.

He has also found inspiration from his mother’s “insanely smart” sisters.

“My aunts are my inspiration,” he said. “One aunt is a nurse and also studies microbiology and another aunt is a former volunteer firefighter turned E.R. nurse.”

Ingram’s home library is a collection of anatomy and fitness titles.

He love learning about the human body and how fitness changes muscles in the body.

“I was on the fence about what would be my purpose in life and took advantage of different CTE courses,” he said. “I received my food handlers license. I took the animation course but missed the certificate test, and I was one question away from gaining my accounting certificate. But I found what I wanted to do with my life.”

Ingram said his work in clinicals taught important lessons.

“It was very different working on mannequins to people,” he said. “We are working with real people with real pain, and that requires you to have compassion and empathy towards them. I really like working with them, and I know that when I look back on my life that I did something meaningful.”

Ingram said a speech given by a Lamar State College Orange professor solidified his nursing goal.

“He used to be an EMT and was on a call where he had to perform breathing tactics on a 4-year-old boy who had been in a pool for 12 minutes,” he said. “By the time they arrived at the hospital they had a heartbeat. 14 years later, they got invited to bring an ambulance to a party to show it off and the first person he shook hands with was the boy he saved. He said, ‘I bet you don’t know who I am? I am the 4-year-old boy who drowned, and you saved my life.’ The boy did not have medical issues or defects and the EMT got to know that the boy was OK, and he knows that he saved his life.

“That’s what I want to do. I want to make an impact on someone else’s life that also impacts my own.”

— Written by Sierra Kondos