From dropout to R.N., nurse credits team for support
As a high school dropout at 16, Briar Walsh followed a well-worn path. She went to beauty school and became a hair stylist. But Walsh found that though she loved the people, she didn’t care much about selling them products.
But luckily, one of Walsh’s clients was a nurse and suggested she go back to school and become a medical assistant. Walsh took that advice and began a journey that has helped her become an R.N.
She’d dropped out of school as a “punk rock” rebel, bored with her classes, but she loved working busing tables and pumping gas. What she discovered by going back to community college is that she loved learning, and soon was earning straight A’s in anatomy and physiology and other science classes.
Walsh came to Legacy in 2012, first working at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in what was the heart rhythm clinic (now part of Legacy Medical Group–Cardiology). She’d graduated from the Portland Community College (PCC) medical assistant program and held several jobs in Portland and California before beginning here.
She says supportive managers made sure she got as much education and career growth as possible and even helped her find financial support to continue her education. She is not one to give up easily and applied four times over four years to Clackamas Community College (CCC) where she eventually got her nursing degree. She didn’t stop there. She later was accepted into Western Governors University, where she plans to soon finish her bachelor of science degree.
Walsh says she was always very vocal about wanting to be challenged and continue her education and credits the entire team she has worked with for helping her along the way, everyone from managers to nurses and doctors. Walsh applied for, and was accepted into, the Legacy R.N. Residency Program about two years ago, and received another 18 weeks of training and mentoring. She says the mentoring continues even though she's completed the program.
With an infant and a toddler at home, and a full-time schedule, Walsh has her hands full, but she’s still ambitious and is continuing her education. Her advice to others starting out as medical assistants is to let their managers and coworkers know if there’s more they want to learn and how they might want to grow in their careers, and to “stick with it.”
She says “the bottom line is that people are willing to help.”