workforce development

Student Stories


With dreams of becoming an emergency department nurse, Regan Thornton is passionate about growing as a healthcare professional in any way she can.

She began her journey by completing the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Program and working as a CNA in the skilled nursing units at Sierra Care Center. While working full-time, Regan then jumped into the Medical Assistant Training Program, completing coursework and clinical rotations in a variety of medical offices.

“Getting to see so many different clinics and constantly having to adapt to new environments was great preparation for nursing,” she says. “I enjoyed the opportunity to be pushed out of my comfort zone and expand my skills while helping patients.”

Next, Regan plans to enter nursing school as part of the Associate of Nursing Program. As she prepares for more coursework, exams and clinical rotations, she stays motivated by remembering why she chose healthcare: her love of helping others.

“It can be exhausting, but I go home knowing I made a difference in someone’s life” Regan says. “Even just sitting and talking with someone, holding their hand. That bond is so special.”


When Tyzel Watson was a child, he sometimes tagged along with his mom, a respiratory therapist, to her work.

“I loved seeing how she helped other people,” he remembers. “Patients would always look so much happier when they would come out of the room with her, and I thought, my mom did that.”

Tyzel’s appreciation for the impact caregivers can have was underscored by his own experience as a patient. Hospitalized as a young adult, he still remembers the names of his nurses, and credits them with inspiring him to pursue a career in nursing.

“Justin and Grace,” he says without hesitation. “I will always remember the care they gave when I was struggling.”

Tyzel successfully completed the Certified Nurse Assistant program and now works full-time as a CNA in the hospital’s nursing units. He is also continuing his education in hopes of joining the Associate of Nursing Program.

As someone who loves to learn, Tyzel is excited about the opportunity to become a registered nurse so he can be the best that he can be for his patients.

“I’ve been a patient, and I know that when you’re in the hospital, you’re going through a really difficult time,” he explains. “Your hospital experience can be made by the kind of CNA or nurse you have. I want to be known as a good one.”