STUDENT Spotlight
Kayla Alvey, Allied Health Program graduate

Student Spotlight is a regularly-updated feature that highlights Baltimore County Public Schools students involved in a wide range of activities and programs. In this Student Spotlight, Kayla Alvey, a graduate of Eastern Technical High School, discusses her involvement in the Allied Health Program. (To see more student spotlights, click here.)

Student Spotlight
Kayla Alvey, Allied Health Program graduate

What is the Allied Health Program?
Eastern Tech's Allied Health magnet is a program that includes many classes that connect in order to allow students to learn about health care. For example, students take Latin I-III in order to easily understand the medical terminology that they learn in their sophomore year in anatomy and physiology class.

When did you join the program?
I applied to the Allied Health Program when I was in Grade 8 and was accepted my freshman year.

How did you become part of the program?
I was a Grade 8 student looking at the small booklet of magnet programs and options in Baltimore County Public Schools. I knew that I wanted to attend Eastern Tech just because I had heard so many good things about it and thought that this program would be best for my future career as a nurse. There is a list of magnet programs to choose from in each school, and I chose Allied Health under Eastern Tech. I applied to this and another magnet program, tested for both of the entry exams, and hoped for the best. I received a letter a couple months later saying I was accepted so I had to send a paper back stating that I would like to attend that fall.

What did learn through the program?
I learned the basics of the medical field, which can be used in multiple health care careers. We started out freshman year learning Latin, the basic language of most medical terminology. This challenging course prepared us to understand the meanings of the words that we came across during sophomore year in the anatomy and physiology classes. We learned the structures and functions of the muscles, bones, and organs. We did many projects that included sculpting these shapes out of clay and having a limited amount of time to name them all and what their job was in the body. We did a lot of dissections, including sheep brains, lungs, heart, and trachea, as well as cow eyes and heart, during sophomore year.

During junior year, we were taught communication skills, ethics, CPR, basic first aid, and other important health care facts related to the history of medicine.

Then, during senior year, we studied a variety of infectious diseases and conditions that exist in the different body systems. For me, that year also consisted of a half day of college at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), where I learned everything about working as a multi-functional technician and earned my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)/Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) and Nurse Support Technician (NST) certifications.

Through what process did you earn your CNA/GNA and NST certifications from CCBC?
Eastern Tech. and the Allied Health Program have many options to choose from senior year, including a pharmacy technician class, CCBC parallel enrollment, a Johns Hopkins Hospital internship, a full high school schedule, and the CCBC CNA/GNA and NST courses. After deciding that I wanted to continue with my dream career as a nurse like my mom, I knew that getting my certifications would help jump start my career so that I would be able to work while I am attending college.

The CNA class was a review of most of the information that I learned at Eastern Tech during the first three years of the Allied Health Program. I took a final exam for my certification as a nursing assistant as well as a skills assessment in order to become certified as a geriatric nursing assistant. My clinical was completed at Stella Maris Nursing Home.

I then went on to the Nurse Support Tech program, learning new and challenging lessons, such as drawing blood, putting in IVs, completing EKGs, and collecting specimens. Once I passed all of those classes, I finished out at Sinai Hospital for clinical.

What was the most challenging part of studying nursing?
Studying health care can be difficult without time management skills. Being an active student in my school community included eight seasons of varsity cheerleading and three seasons on the lacrosse team as well as involvement in organizations, such as Relay For Life, Skills USA, and four honor societies. My school workload occasionally became overwhelming during freshman and sophomore years, but being involved only made me better with managing my time wisely because time was crucial in order to accomplish my goals. It became difficult many times, but with practice, I only got better.

What was the most rewarding part of studying nursing?
As an employee and multi-functional technician for Good Samaritan Hospital, I become overjoyed and rewarded whenever I can make a patient smile. Simple things as talking to them or helping them freshen up can make them feel more comfortable and better about themselves. Patients are in a difficult situation without any familiarity with the environment around them, but when I can be there to talk to them and help them through their day to make them more comfortable, that's the most rewarding part of the job. I love to hear their stories and see smiles on their faces, knowing that I was a part of making it happen.

What would you like others who are interested in the Allied Health Program to know?
This is great program to apply to if you are interested in any health care job because of the curriculum, projects, experiences, and most importantly, the teachers who guide and build relationships with all of their students. I think that, no matter what you are interested in as a career, this course will help you with life skills and give you answers to things you might have once wondered.

How have the Allied Health Program and BCPS prepared you to be college- and career-ready?
Eastern Technical High School is definitely a school like no other. The challenges faced and lessons learned at Eastern Tech helped prepare me not only for college but for life.

The teachers are amazing at what they do. I would not be where I am today at Good Samaritan Hospital, achieving my dream career step by step at such an early age, if it weren't for my teachers. Ms. Magladry, Mr. Whittaker, and Mr. McConnell have guided me the past four years of my life, always being there to challenge me, teach me, laugh with me, and most importantly, build a relationship with me.I feel as if we became a family because they have only made me better by believing in me.

Eastern Tech's curriculum threw challenges my way, but without them, I would have never learned how to overcome the complicated times. The Allied Health Program was also difficult at times, but I enjoyed learning about health care, so it was slightly easier to push myself to finish learning those terms. I got out of class at my high school around 11 a.m. and went straight to CCBC in order to start my homework because I knew I had cheer practice until late six out of the seven days a week. During senior year, I attended CCBC Essex half day for my CNA/GNA and NST classes, which were from 1 to 3 p.m. or 1 to 4:15 pm. Clubs, sports, schoolwork, partnerships, and parallel enrollment in my senior year all helped prepare me for college, life, and my career.

What are your hopes for the rest of this summer?
Many things, such as where I am living, are in the process of changing. I am moving into college, and some of my close friends are even going out of state.

As far as my new job goes, I am excited to continue learning new things each and every day that I am at the hospital. There is always more to learn and experience.

What are your plans for next school year?
I will be beginning my first year of college at Stevenson University as a nursing major. I will continue to work at Good Samaritan Hospital about once a week, as needed. I am expecting many things to change in my life due to the fact that I will be moving out of my house and meeting all new people but I am excited for the new challenges and experiences to come.

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