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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

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Nursing assistant jump-starts her medical career

Certified+nursing+assistant+Natalie+Monteith+poses+for+a+photo.
Jay Deegan
Certified nursing assistant Natalie Monteith poses for a photo.

The medical field lacks opportunities for high schoolers due to the extensive and difficult training requirements. Despite this obstacle, senior Natalie Monteith has received her certification to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and works in a nursing home.

“CNAs provide support to nurses and help patients with basic direct care needs such as transportation and activities of daily living,” Monteith said.

Monteith has researched many routes for young people to get started in the medical field.

“I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare as my career, and I decided to become a CNA as a way to start in the field at a young age,” Monteith said. “There aren’t many opportunities for high school students to work in the field, but you can become a CNA at 16.”

Monteith works in the memory care unit of a nursing home where she carries out daily activities like transporting the residents and checking their vitals.

“Working with residents who have dementia requires a lot of patience,” Monteith said. “However, connecting with residents and helping them improve their quality of life is very rewarding.”

Many hours of training are required to become a CNA.

“In Illinois, it is required to have 80 hours of theory and 40 hours of clinicals,” Monteith said. “Because the program was only three weeks, my classes were five days a week, five hours on weekdays, and up to eight hours Saturday and Sunday. Then I had to complete multiple 12-hour clinicals. After completing the course, you must pass the state exam.”

Monteith tries her best to stay involved in medicine elsewhere. She is on the executive board of the Medical Club here at Central.

“It’s a great way to learn more about the healthcare industry and learn about important topics related to the field,” Monteith said.

Siya Aggarwal, another senior at Central, took the CNA certification program with Monteith.

“Doing it together was actually really good because a lot of the times we were singled out being the youngest ones,” Aggarwal said. “Our instructor was more old school so doing it together was good because we could advocate for ourselves and each other when she [singled] us out.”

Aggarwal has seen Monteith improve rapidly throughout the program in both her skills and her confidence.

“We were both really scared of all the things that came with being a CNA and all of the responsibilities but I definitely saw her get more comfortable with everything and develop more empathy towards the patients,” Aggarwal said.

Aggarwal describes Monteith as passionate about her work and dedicated to her future plans.

“She is definitely very organized and when she has a goal that she is set on, she does it,” Aggarwal said. “If she can work so hard and be so passionate about helping people now, she’s definitely going to be really successful in the future.”

Monteith plans to continue in the healthcare field through secondary schooling.

“In the future, I hope to earn my M.D. degree and work as a physician,” Monteith said. “I’m not sure what exact kind yet, but I am mostly interested in emergency medicine and pediatrics.”

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About the Contributors
Selah Lee
Selah Lee, Staff Writer
Jay Deegan
Jay Deegan, Print Managing Editor
Jay Deegan is a Junior at Central and happy to start his third year of journalistic adventures at the Central Times. Jay loves writing features and diving in-depth into issues that plague our community. In his free time Jay runs a freelance videography and photography business and loves to creatively express his interests in sports and filmmaking. If you’d like to join CT or have a tip, reach out!
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