Dianne Gohmann is living proof that going to a party can sometimes change your life! Dianne, aged 31, heard about Carrington College California and our health care programs from a stranger she met at a holiday party in 2010! Two years later she is a graduate of the Surgical Technology program at our San Jose, CA campus and working in what she describes as her ‘dream job’.
Dianne and her boyfriend Matthew have been together almost four years, and she is stepmom to Nathan, aged 5 ½, who calls her ‘My Dianne’. She always wanted to work in health care, but got caught up in menial jobs to pay the bills; however she was always bored. Prior to earning a degree in Surgical Technology, Dianne previously completed Associate degrees in Liberal Arts and Construction Management.
“I’d always hopped from job to job – whatever got me through as far as salary was concerned and I continually took the opportunity to further my education whenever I could. I kind of woke up one day and said to myself – ‘You know what… I need to do what I want to do, but I also need a job that will always help me take care of my family, no matter where we are.'”
Dianne had been thinking about going to college to study a health care related program for a while; she was so motivated that she had even gone back to school to get the pre-requisites she thought she needed. But it was that chance meeting that prompted her to visit Carrington.
“I was at a party talking about how I wanted to get into the health care industry, as that’s where my passion lies. I was explaining that I had no idea where to start when someone said that they were attending Carrington, and the school had been great for them. I decided to look into it.
The next day I went to the San Jose campus and spoke to an Enrollment Services Representative. They told me about the Surgical Technology program. It was a career that I’d never even heard of, but it was the dream career for me. I’d always wanted to be in the O.R. but I’d never wanted to pursue being a Registered Nurse; it never really interested me.”
“I researched a few local colleges, but it was the accelerated nature of the Carrington College California program that appealed to me. I wanted to get in, work extremely hard, get it done, get out, and get on with my career. Carrington offered me that.”
Dianne started the program just weeks later in January 2011 and completed the certificate program in April this year; it took her 15 months.
“They interviewed me for the program right away, and they squeezed me in to the next session – so I started within a couple of weeks. It was everything that I thought it would be. It all happened so fast, and so perfectly that I knew this was where I was meant to be.”
Dianne only needed a few more classes to earn her Associate of Science degree in Surgical Technology; she hoped that a degree would be an advantage when she started looking for jobs. Dianne stayed on and completed the degree program in June, and then worked closely with the campus Career Services Department.
“I have an amazing Career Services Advisor – Cindy del Hierro. She’s always been there for me, and she still calls to see how I’m doing in my new job. She coached me on how to interview, and she sent me off with notes to study before every interview. I wanted to be well prepared; and I think that really helped me – it gave me another advantage that I needed.”
In addition to the technical skills that Dianne acquired during her time at Carrington, she thinks back to two particular factors that contributed to her success.
“My Program Director, Karen Shirley, always taught us to put our patients first and to strive for excellence because mediocrity is not an option in this profession. She’s passionate, extremely intelligent and is not just going through the motions. She told us to treat our patients the way we would want our family to be treated – and that really hit home for me. I’ve followed her lead and I firmly believe that she’s one of the main reasons I’ve been successful.
The externship that Carrington sent me on was another bonus – the hands-on experience I gained while being taught the invaluable clinical skills by extremely kind and intelligent people gave me the edge I needed to succeed. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today, in the wonderful job I have, without the amazing people at the school and at my externship.”
While Dianne is fully aware of the help and support that Carrington faculty and staff provided her, her advice to current and prospective students is simple if you want to be successful.
“You have to put effort into it yourself. You can’t expect the instructors to carry you; you have to want to succeed and have the mindset that this is your career not theirs. If you don’t have that mindset, you’re not going to be successful. The school is there with the tools to help you, but you have to be prepared to do the hard work. Look at me, I’m at an amazing hospital in a job I love, and I only just got my final degree in June. That speaks for itself; your hard work can pay off – definitely.”
Immediately after graduation Dianne found a surgical technician job with an oral maxillofacial surgeon, but that wasn’t where she ultimately wanted to be.
“I wanted to work in a hospital, so I took the job knowing that the experience would get me to where I wanted to be. I didn’t know how long it would take to get there, but I kept my nose to the grindstone and found every opportunity I could to interview with hospitals and surgery centers. It only took a few months to get the position I was ultimately looking for; I’ve got an amazing job at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Clara, CA. It’s a well known hospital around here.”
It was clear from our brief interview that Dianne is very passionate about her new career, and she was equally passionate when studying for the role.
“You have to love your job; you can’t go to work every day dreading it otherwise your life is going to be miserable. I’ve only been doing this a few months, but I love coming to work; I love the fact that I’m helping people, I get to assist in bettering their lives, and for me that is very rewarding.”
And that passion is something she feels is very important for current Carrington students to have, no matter what they are studying.
“If it’s your passion you have to stay the course; there will always be bumps in the road, but don’t give up no matter what. If you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, and empathy for your patients, you may have chosen the wrong path. I knew very quickly that this was the dream career for me. Most of the students at Carrington are passionate about their careers – that’s why they’re there, I could tell.”
Dianne feels that she is constantly learning and moving her skills forward; and she’s really excited by it. She is so sure of the choice she’s made, that when asked about her career path and where she’d like to be in three years, she had a very simple answer.
“I hope to be in the exact same spot that I am now. I really do have faith that I will be because I’ve found an amazing place to work. I’ve got my foot in the door, and I’m going to keep it there! Just as Ms. Shirley taught me, I’m going to keep striving for excellence and let them know that this is my passion. It’s not just a job, it’s my career and I’m extremely dedicated to it.”
For comprehensive consumer information on our Surgical Technology program, visit carrington.edu/degrees/surgical-technician/
Program availability varies by location.