Three BHS students get jumpstart on careers in health care

A photo of Reagan Sweet, Eric Ariniega, and Micah Herron

Three Batesville High School students are getting a jumpstart on their careers in health care. Reagan Sweet, Micah Herron and Eric Arciniega will graduate from BHS this May but will also be graduating from the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville that same month with their certified nursing assistant degrees.

Marietta Candler, director of Nursing and Allied Health, said all three seniors were exceptional students. “They are all extremely hard working and were always willing to practice their skills. They have all passed the skills and written portions of their CNA state board exam, so they will graduate high school as certified CNAs.”

The three seniors are Batesville natives. They said while the CNA program at UACCB was a challenge, it was an enjoyable experience.

“It was hard but at the same time it was a lot of fun,” Sweet said. “I was interested in what we were learning and wanted to study.”

Arciniega added that he had a great support system in the UACCB faculty. “Mrs. Candler was very supportive,” he said. “I’m patient when working with others, and I wanted to do something where I could use that skill, but I didn’t know if I could do this. Mrs. Candler showed me I have what it takes to be in this field.”

Herron said working in the medical field had always been an interest for her. Sweet said her desire to enter nursing did not come until she was admitted as a patient at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

“I was at Children’s two summers ago. The nurses got to work with the babies a lot, and I thought that would be great to get to work with all of those babies. I’d like to specialize in pediatric nursing,” Sweet said.

Arciniega and Herron said they both got a glimpse of what it would be like to work in the medical field through their volunteer work with White River Medical Center’s Volunteen program. Volunteens, formerly known as Candy Stripers, spend time in patient care areas delivering items such as flowers and newspapers and in support services assisting White River Health System employees and volunteers. Volunteens also receive CPR and customer service training. Herron won the Most Outstanding Volunteen award which provided her with a $500 scholarship that she used to help pay for her CNA classes.

Arciniega said he plans to go on to pursue his practical nursing degree. Herron said she is working on her prerequisite classes for the registered nursing program this fall but is undecided if she will pursue an RN degree or her bachelor’s of science in nursing. Sweet said she was also considering an RN degree or BSN. Herron and Arciniega said they are considering working at WRMC after graduation, and Sweet said she would like to work in a clinical setting.

The three students agreed that taking concurrent courses at UACCB has given them a head start to a successful career.

“Take concurrent classes,” Herron said. “It will give you a good head start on your career, and it’s cheaper than taking classes as a traditional college student.”

Arciniega added, “Concurrent courses are also a good way to help you figure out what you really want to do. It gives you a preview into the career so you can decide if it’s for you.”