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Lane County Student Finds Their Passion In Healthcare

 Thursday, May 28, 2015

My name is Reagan Weiland. I have been a student at Oakridge since I was in pre-school and I have really grown to love my small community. I have worked so hard the last four years of high school and I am so excited to start the next phase of my life; the Lane Healthcare Pathways grant has made this dream a reality.

I would like to be a surgeon. Participating in a surgery would be a thrill. Not the kind of thrill that skydiving would give you, but the kind of thrill you receive from changing a person’s life.  For some procedures, the surgeon literally holds the patient’s life in their hands. I am hoping that I get to observe an operation when I go to MedQuest this summer. This is a week-long medical camp that is being offered at Eastern Oregon University for which I will receive college credit, and I have received a full scholarship to attend.

I haven’t always planned on entering the medical field. When I was in the fifth grade, I wanted to be a storm chaser, because I watched the movie Twister and found it inspiring. Needless to say, I have moved past that phase. What really sparked my interest in the medical field was actually my own medical problems. In the fifth grade I was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, which is a disease in the bones usually caused by growing too fast. This slowed me down a little but I didn’t let it limit me or all the stuff I wanted to do. Then in junior high I got infectious mononucleosis. As if that wasn’t enough,I then had a severe reaction from it that caused hard painful nodules to form in the tissue in my legs and arms. This totally took my legs out of commission for about two months; I will never take walking for granted again. Then my freshman year I tore some tissue in my already bad knee and had to have corrective surgery. Then sophomore year I tore up my shoulder and had months of physical therapy. And last year I had an autoimmune disease that caused my joints to lock up and paralysis in my hands; obviously this affected everything I did, including school work, another thing I will never take for granted. Clearly I have had a rough go at things, but I have had many different medical teams backing me up and getting me back to as good as new. I want nothing more than to return the favor. It is my turn to help someone and make a difference in their life.

Last year when I heard a presentation about the opportunity to get to do a number of medical related things for free, I thought why not. This year I was chosen to receive a scholarship to attend Emergency Medical Responder training. I had so much fun, and I realized that the medical field is where I belong. I now use those skills as a volunteer firefighter and EMS personnel with my local fire department. Through the fire department I also went through my Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, so once my 90-day probation is over I will get to drive the ambulance and respond to calls.  I was also very excited to get to take Anatomy and Physiology, and Medical Terminology College Now courses this year, meaning I will get college credit from them. My Spanish 5 class is also a College Now course this year. I just finished the Administrative Medical Office Procedure program and I am also currently taking Lane’s Phlebotomy 1 course; as well as the RTEC Program, a college and career preparation course. The RTEC Program is going to pay for me to take a couple of classes this summer. I am hoping to be able to participate in a Co-op. By doing so I would get to work at a local clinic where I have done many job shadows to get more work experience and college credit.

This summer I am going to finish my Phlebotomy 2 course and get my certificate. I would also like to try to go through basic EMT training at Lane as well. I plan to enroll at Concorde Career College and go through the Surgical Technician program. While I go through school I would like to work as a phlebotomist and/or an EMT. Once I have worked for a year I would like to take the National Board Examination so that I will be licensed to work as a phlebotomist anywhere in the country. Concorde Career College works directly with Riverbend Hospital, so that is a good chance I would at least do on the job training there. Once I am working in surgery, I may realize that I want to specialize in a specific surgery or want to work my way up to be the head surgeon, the possibilities are endless! The medical field isn’t just my calling, it has chosen me.