By CHERYL SCHWEIZER
For the Basin Business Journal
ROYAL CITY — Evelyn Carreto knew the career she plans to pursue back in middle school.
Her mother had a medical emergency, and Evelyn spent some time at the hospital. “I really focused on the nurses,” she said.
Her interest in nursing grew from that experience, she said, and was reinforced with some of the career education at Royal High School.
She looked for opportunities to learn more about nursing while at RHS, she said, and chances for more training. Currently she is working on her associate degree at Big Bend Community College, with the goal of applying to BBCC’s nursing program.
Evelyn received a scholarship from the Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF), and through the foundation worked last summer on an outreach project with Columbia Valley Community Health in Wenatchee.
Her search for opportunities to learn more about nursing led her to Project Hope, a job shadowing program that allowed her to see and follow nurses at work. That and some other experiences confirmed that medicine, and specifically nursing, were careers for her, she said. “OK, this is what I want to do. I want to be a nurse.”
She also enrolled in the professional medical careers/pre-nursing program at Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center. As part of that program students take the test for certified nurse assistant qualification. Evelyn took it, and passed.
“Those things got me a step ahead,” she said. The CNA qualification meant she could get a job to help pay her way through school.
But she also applied for scholarships, including the WAEF program designed for children of apple industry employees. Evelyn’s father is employed at an orchard near Royal City. Evelyn, the oldest of three children, grew up in Royal City, she said.
“I actually had a dream I got the scholarship,” she said, and a week or so later the dream turned real. “They actually come and deliver the scholarship to you. It was a really great experience.”
The $5,000 WAEF scholarship and similar awards, including from BBCC and the Paul Lauzier Foundation, meant she has been able to focus on school, she said.
The summer volunteer job also came through the apple foundation. She worked with doctors and nurses on a medical team that visited labor camps around North Central Washington during harvest season. Patients are screened and get a report from the physician, a service provided to them at no cost.
It was her job to take the vital signs of prospective patients, she said, and record statistics like height and weight. She also provided some translation services for the doctors and nurses.
“It was an awesome experience.” The doctors and nurses treated her like part of the medical team, she said. “We all kind of worked together.”
Her ultimate goal is to qualify as a nurse in neonatal intensive care, she said.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.