Mt. Vernon Woman Starts Over, Becomes Twice-Certified Technician
October 24, 2013 - When Renee Daniels and her husband lost their home and jobs in 2008, her career and life took a step back. But ask Daniels and she’ll tell you it was a step in the right direction.
“Going through the rough patches in my life has made me appreciate what I have so much more,” said Daniels. “I like what I do, and I'm good at it. I've never been able to say that before.”
After Daniels, 36, and her husband of 16 years, Jay, had to leave their Dublin home in 2008, the pair moved with their two children to a trailer in Soperton. Daniels, originally from Rentz, had experience mostly in retail jobs, a skillset not then in demand in Treutlen County. A year passed in the trailer before Daniels’s husband brought her something he’d found.
“My husband was researching different career paths offered by nearby schools,” said Daniels. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I didn't think nursing was the right route for me. So, when he came across the CLT course offered at STC, he shared it with me.”
CLT refers to the Clinical Laboratory Technology program at Southeastern Technical College. Daniels wasn’t familiar with the field, but after some research she enrolled in summer 2010. She finished her core classes before the year’s end, but when her CLT program courses began, she began to understand the complexity of the degree she was pursuing.
“There were several times when I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I wanted to just give in to the pressure,” said Daniels. “I received a lot of much needed praise, encouragement and reassurance from my instructor and adviser, Cynthia Williams.”
Williams, the director of STC’s CLT program, worked closely with Daniels and found in her someone with a winning personality and unwavering perseverance.
“She made class a lot of fun,” said Williams. “She was a good student, and I don’t ever remember her missing a day. I’m proud of her—she had some stressful situations, but kept a smile on her face.”
Daniels learned to perform tests, maintain medical equipment, and interpret test results, among other things. She became driven by the understanding that without a technician’s work, doctors are flying blind.
In January 2012, she began her clinical rotations at Emanuel Medical Center (EMC) in Swainsboro. Daniels recalls the patient and welcoming nature of the EMC staff, but it didn’t take her long to make a mark there.
“When I [graduated] in July of 2012, I was working at Emanuel Medical Center full-time the very next day,” said Daniels.
She had taken the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s (ASCP) medical technician certification and passed, so she could have settled into her new home in Mt. Vernon, her new job and her new degree and certification and been set.
But then the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) changed the requirements for its medical technologist exam, a classification one step higher than her own.
“Now, the AAB allows individuals with an Associate’s degree in medical technology to attempt the medical technologist certification,” said Daniels. “So, I opted to attempt the exam.”
In August 2013, just four months after passing her ASCP exam and a year after graduating, Daniels went from student to technician to technologist.
“An analogy would be to graduate from a practical nursing program and pass the LPN board then pass the RN board right after,” said Williams.
Though the move to medical technologist is a little more lucrative and comes with greater responsibilities, the primary concern for Daniels isn’t wealth or notoriety.
“I've lost jobs, lost my home, and almost lost my sanity,” said Daniels. “But now my feet are planted firmly on the ground and I have my stability back. I work long hours and more often than not, I come home exhausted. But, I wouldn't have it any other way. Because I know, come payday, I am able to pay my bills and put food on the table. And that makes it all worthwhile.”
For more information on CLT career opportunities, visit www.southeasterntech.edu or call 912-538-3100 or 478-289-2200.