Stories of Excellence–Harrison White
Harrison White has a passion for helping people. His past experiences and educational journey have helped form his chosen career, but it was his time at Mitchell that helped him discover his true calling.
After earning his BS in Cellular/Molecular Biology at Appalachian State University, White desired to enter a Physician Assistant (PA) program. In order to do this, though, White needed clinical hours to gain more experience in hands-on patient care. Many students on this same path elect to earn hours as a certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) or through Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. White had earned his CNA certification during his time at Appalachian and, wanting to explore other opportunities, he decided to pursue EMT. However, he found the EMT program at the university level was quite costly. White, who grew up in the Mooresville area, decided to look locally for a comparable program and found Mitchell. “Mitchell’s program had great reviews and it was very affordable,” White noted.
White began the 200-hour EMT training program at Mitchell in August 2017. While excited for the new opportunity, he also recalls being nervous. “I had been a CNA, but Emergency Medicine is a whole different ballgame.” After the first few days of class, though, he was more at ease, connecting with the course material and developing friendships with the other students. “The class had a lot of people with a lot of different backgrounds–people looking to just get their EMT certification, people with a goal to get a Paramedic license, even firefighters. I really enjoyed meeting everyone.” The diversity in his class–with students ranging in age from 18 to mid-40s, all with different backgrounds and goals–made a real difference. “That’s what I loved about it,” White said. “I really enjoyed meeting everyone and learning why they were in the class and sharing my story as well.”
The wealth of knowledge White found in his instructors at Mitchell was unparalleled. He felt extremely prepared for his course clinical hours due to the extensive book and field knowledge of his instructors, most of whom were current or former paramedics. “The teachers provided me with everything I needed for my clinical practice,” he noted.
It was during his clinical hours when White realized he had found his calling. “I remember my first clinical ride. The first call, I remember going out and I was so nervous. So very nervous. Once we had completed the call, I asked my paramedic, ‘When is the next call?’ Because I loved it. I was called to it. I enjoyed being able to help people.” Once completing two years of PA school, students are asked to specialize. White’s experience with the teachers and students at Mitchell helped inform his future decision. “Until I took the class at Mitchell I had no idea what I wanted to specialize in,” White admitted. Now he plans to specialize in a trauma or emergency care field. “The class alone has had a huge, huge impact not only on my career but on my life itself,” he said. “The class has helped form my future.”
White completed the course in November and is eligible to take his state certification exam on Friday, December 15. Once he has completed his clinical hours and prerequisites, White aims to attend PA school in North Carolina, preferably at Wake Forest University as their program partners with his alma mater.
When asked if he would recommend Mitchell, White said that was “a no brainer.” “I know community colleges more often than not are given a bad rap. But the hands-on learning in the classes and the professionalism and experience-level of the teachers–you can’t get a better education than that. Not even at a four-year university.” Learning from instructors who were currently serving in the field made the difference for him. “I was more than satisfied with my experience at Mitchell,” White added.
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