Seeing a path to success and following the plan to get there is almost second nature to PTC Health Science Instructor, Jeanna Munholland. From an early age she knew she wanted to spend her life helping people. “I’ve always been interested in nursing. I enjoy taking care of people and love to help wherever I can. It’s so rewarding.”
Starting out as a CNA working at the Coalgate hospital, Munholland continued expanding her education, skills, and certifications. Receiving her LPN in 2001, she began working as an ER nurse (ER Tech) through 2009 when she graduated from Seminole State with an Applied Sciences Associate degree and received her RN. And, she didn’t stop there, “I started back to school in 2015 at Northeastern and graduated in 2017 to receive my BSN,” she shares.
Jeanna discovered her heart for teaching almost immediately after receiving her RN in 2009. “I think I always knew I wanted to pursue an administrative role or teach. But, I discovered a real love for teaching in the ER when students would shadow me and people began to encourage me and tell me I would make a good teacher.” It is nice to be told you’re good at something, and Jeanna says, “That helped spark and solidify my interest. I knew it was something I could do well.”
In 2013 Munholland accepted the role of Director of Nurses at a local nursing home. She enjoyed success in that role and found it fulfilling, but the call to teach was still ringing strong in her life. “In 2012 I began teaching at Kiamichi Technology Center in Atoka in the evening CNA and Phlebotomy programs. That helped balance this desire I had for teaching while I kept the day job going at the nursing home...and it was good for a while. But, I still wanted to do more,” she says.
Realizing her passion for teaching was strong, when PTC posted an opening for a full-time instructor, she applied. “I thought to myself, I may not get it, but I’m going to apply.” Despite a little uncertainty back then, she’s at home in the classroom and is certainly an asset at PTC today. When asked about the experience, she says, “So far, it’s proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Seeing students grasp concepts and build skills in the classroom is extremely rewarding to Mrs. Munholland. “When a student masters something and the excitement builds, it’s really fun to get to experience that excitement with them.” She continues, “Some of my favorite days are when I receive an email or a happy phone call from a past student letting me know they’ve been accepted into an LPN or RN program. That really makes my day!”
As for the day to day aspects of the class, it’s never dull. There’s always something to learn or experience. “I do enjoy nursing care instruction and the foundations are critical. My first-year students get to explore all the great techniques and safety measures used in nursing care, but some of my favorite moments also happen in the second-year program when students are trying to master skills and procedures. You get to see students finding their groove, getting encouragement from their successes, and start looking forward to real well-paying careers in healthcare.”
When you leave the Health Science program at PTC, you’ve likely developed your knowledge and skills, but you’ve also built relationships that will take you to the next phases of your career and beyond. Munholland explains, “Students graduating our program have an advantage over others looking to extend their education. They may have their CNA and Phlebotomy Technician certifications (if they pass their tests), and that not only gives them basic skills, but it makes their application more competitive - whether they’re looking for immediate employment, moving to an LPN program or pursuing their RN.”
2020 has affected people in the healthcare field in a variety of ways. For Munholland, as a life-long learner, she has accepted the challenge and moved into yet another emerging healthcare field. “I work part-time for a nursing home in Henryetta as an infection preventionist. I track infections, present plans for addressing them, train staff for proper prevention and PPE use, and just monitor and evaluate what works and doesn’t.” This isn’t just a side gig for Munholland, she had to pursue another certification to jump in where she saw an urgent need. “Due to the pandemic, you have to be certified through the CDC to become an infection preventionist,” she explains. “It not only allows me to help the community, but it also ties well to my classroom. I get to bring experience and stories to my students and expose them to career options they might not otherwise think about.”
Married to Greg for nearly 27 years with a beautiful blended family, Jeanna says, “We have nine kids who call us Nana and Paw Paw, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.” Outside of work Jeanna focuses on family and keeps busy finishing and decorating their new home near Coalgate.Visit the Health Science Program Page