CHS Student 'Believes and Achieves'

Cape Central High School student Tanesha Jones sits on a bench in front of Cape Central High School. Tanesha says the Believe to Achieve nurse assistant program at Southeast Missouri Hospital has sparked her interest in pursuing a career in healthcare.

Tanesha Jones doesn't think of herself as a hero. But others do.

The Cape Central High School senior was working at a local fast-food restaurant in Cape Girardeau on March 23 when she came to the aid of a woman who had fallen in the bathroom.

Tanesha says her manager was uncertain how best to assist the woman. So Tanesha, who had recently completed the Believe to Achieve nurse assistant program at Southeast Missouri Hospital, took charge and checked on the customer's condition.

Tanesha says the woman had passed out briefly and hit her head on the sink. "People wanted to move her but I told everyone to stand back and not touch her." Tanesha asked her if she was alright and asked other questions to determine her state of mind.

As it turned out, the woman was dehydrated. She had taken her blood pressure medicine on an empty stomach. "Her head felt hot so I asked somebody to get a cool towel to put on her head. I was very calm while everyone around me was going crazy," she recalls.

Emergency personnel and paramedics were called to the restaurant to provide further medical aid.

Tanesha credits the Believe to Achieve program with giving her the training needed to deal with such medical emergencies.

Southeast Missouri Hospital partnered with the Cape Girardeau School District and MERS Goodwill Scholars at Work program to establish the Believe to Achieve program in 2009.

During the first year, three nine-week sessions were offered. In all, 29 at-risk students participated in the program; 23 of the students completed the program.

Tanesha graduated from the half-semester program in March. Students in the program received first-hand training on the role of a nurse assistant, taking vital signs and helping provide basic care for patients.

"I loved it," says Tanesha who wants to pursue a nursing career after she graduates from Central High School in May.

Tanesha says she loves helping patients. "just seeing smiles on patients' faces, that can just cheer up your whole day," she explains.

Believe to Achieve has given her confidence, she says. "I believe I can do anything,' she adds with a broad smile.

Debbie Ebaugh, Transition Coordinator at Central High School, helps place students in the Believe to Achieve program. She praises the program. "It lifts these kids up. It shows them they can be successful," she notes.