How This University Hospital Worker Got His Start at a Newark-based Career Program

“NCCTI was a definite option for me, and it seemed like the best program possible with something that was needed in my life at the moment,” said Coates.

A graduate of KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy, Coates first learned about NCCTI from his guidance counselor at the Newark charter school, which is located on Littleton Avenue. After graduating from high school in 2018, he worked various jobs, including for a moving company and landscaping. 

That would all change in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic hit, leaving Coates unsure what his next steps in life would be. When he reached out to his former guidance counselor, he was provided with several options, one of which was enrolling at NCCTI.

The decision to enroll in a healthcare-related profession stemmed from some unfortunate news Coates received one day when he learned that his grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer. Wanting to educate himself to be able to help in any possible way, he decided to join the Patient Care Technician (PCT) program at NCCTI to care for his grandfather.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to even show him the skills I learned or help him out because he died about a week before I graduated," he said. "But it opened up more for me because that’s what gave me the idea to take it as far as I can. It started out as me just wanting to help him out, and now it opened up the door for me to be in the medical oncology space.”

Coates eventually graduated in May 2021 from the PCT program and currently works in that role in University Hospital.

Prior to his graduation, NCCTI personnel helped Coates get a job as a patient sitter at University Hospital. In that role, he did one-on-one interventions with patients. During his shift, he said he would sit with a patient, watch television and play games with them and speak with them.

He said he found the job beneficial because he was able to get used to the hospital setting and interact with patients. 

Once Coates graduated, University Hospital promoted him to a PCT role. He does a variety of tasks for patients and nurses, including helping patients to the bathroom, feeding them, cleaning, and drawing blood.

“I enjoy it a lot,” he said.

Coates still has aspirations to achieve more in his profession as well.

He said he aims to become an assistant director of nursing. In order to achieve this, he’s currently working to start prerequisite classes at Essex County College, where he plans to earn an associate’s degree in nursing.

“I am so proud of Mr. Coates and all our students graduating from NCCTI,” said New Community Chief Operating Officer and NCCTI Interim Director Fred Hunter. “Our graduates are leaving school with the knowledge needed to be successful in their chosen program area.”

Even after graduation, Coates said he felt prepared to enter the workforce.

During the pandemic, he participated in a hybrid program where he had in-person instruction two days per week and conducted the rest of his learning on the computer. He said this schedule was beneficial to him because of the computer work skills involved in his job and was grateful for the additional practice.

PCT Instructor Maha Koltowski said she believes that Coates has a bright future ahead.

“He was attentive and hard-working,” said Koltowski.

Determined to become successful in his new career path, Coates attributed his accomplishments thus far to the support he received at NCCTI.

“I want to thank the staff. They really changed my life,” he said. “Everybody showed a tremendous amount of love and gave me so much hope doing this program at a time that was hard for me. They were just so loving. They made me want to come to school every day. I’m just appreciative of them.”

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-01-18 03:15:39 -0800