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Christina Thornton has always wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. When she saw an acquaintance posting about her experience at New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI) on Instagram, she decided to learn more. After contacting school staff and receiving additional information, she enrolled in the Patient Care Technician (PCT) program.
Thornton was impressed with the employer connections NCCTI offered to its students and liked that it was a short-term program.
“It was definitely something that I was able to do at the time,” she said.
Thornton graduated from the PCT program in 2020 and started working at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center (formerly Saint Barnabas Medical Center) in Livingston shortly after as a patient care technician. In December, she will celebrate two years in that position.
She works in a surgical step-down unit, which means she provides a level of care between the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the general medical-surgical ward. She draws blood, performs EKGs, helps nurses with wound care, helps patients walk and perform physical therapy and washes patients.
Thornton has excelled in her role. She was even named Employee of the Month before her probationary period concluded.
Even though she was working full-time at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, Thornton decided to take on another full-time role as a patient care technician at University Hospital in Newark. She started that job in July. She works 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center and a night shift at University Hospital.
Thornton doesn’t plan to work two full-time jobs for an extended period, but has some financial goals to accomplish. She also wants to continue her education and eventually become a physician’s assistant. She is currently at Essex County College working toward becoming a registered nurse.
“We at NCCTI are very proud of the accomplishments made by Christina Thornton. We wish her continued success,” said NCCTI Director Dr. Sylvia McCray.
Thornton enjoys her work as a patient care technician because it involves service to others. Before enrolling at NCCTI, she had jobs in group homes and homeless shelters.
“I just like helping people and making a difference in people’s lives,” she said.
Despite starting the PCT program virtually during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thornton and her classmates were able to get hands-on instruction when conditions improved. Upon completion of the program, she felt prepared to begin her career.
NCCTI helped connect Thornton and her classmates to potential employers. Students were encouraged to fill out applications while on site. She recalls one classmate even received a job offer before she had passed the certification exam. Her own job offer came quickly after her interview.
Thornton is thankful for her experience at NCCTI.
“The staff was really good. It’s a good school,” she said. “They definitely do live up to their promise.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business & Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.