From GED to nursing school — Where can a GED take you?

By Haywood Community College | Apr 03, 2014
Photo by: Diana Conard HCC GED graduate Jamie Putnam was recently accepted into the college’s nursing program. She is a CNA at MedWest Haywood where she has worked for three years. Putnam also completed phlebotomy and CNA courses at HCC.

Haywood Community College’s College & Career Readiness Department recently celebrated with GED graduate Jamie Putnam on her acceptance into the nursing program at the college. Putnam completed her GED with the department in 2002.

After the completing her GED, Putnam completed Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) and phlebotomy certifications at HCC. She has worked as a CNA for 12 years and is currently employed part-time at MedWest Haywood.

Putnam has known she wanted to be a nurse from a very young age. She has a strong desire to help others and loves taking care of patients. She also wants to contribute more fully to her family’s income and financial security for the future.  She sees the nursing field as an excellent opportunity to achieve those goals.

Putnam says she feels that many individuals think it is just too hard to come back to school and are intimidated by the thoughts of it. She wants others to know that it can happen for them too.

"The staff at HCC played an important role in my journey," Putnam said. "GED instructors helped target the areas I needed to pass the GED tests. They worked with me and encouraged me through the process."

"Our department works to help students receive the High School Equivalency, but equally as important, we work to transition them into the workplace or other college programs," Patricia Smith, of HCC’s College & Career Readiness Department said. "Some students, like Jamie, choose a credential, go to work for a few years, and then return to further their education. Our goal as a department, and as a college, is to create career and educational pathways which allow students to reach their goals. "

Like many other community college students, Putnam is a wife, a full-time mother of two children, and works part-time to help support her family. While it has been challenging and tiring at times, she says the staff at HCC has worked with her to make it happen. Her academic advisors helped her determine the classes needed each semester and then worked with her to schedule classes around her busy home life. Because childcare is always an issue, she has taken advantage of the online courses offered at HCC.

"Taking some of my classes online allowed me to be at home with my children and still complete the classes required for acceptance into the nursing program," Putnam said.

Putnam also expresses her appreciation for the help she received with her math classes. She says she has always been concerned about her abilities in the subject and was worried about whether she could pass the math classes. The Learning Support Services Department helped her to obtain tutors. With the help she received, she passed all of her math classes with very strong grades.

Jamie’s efforts and dedication have paid off. She will begin classes in HCC’s Nursing Program this fall.

To balance family, work and school has often necessitated additional help. Putnam’s family has supported her efforts by helping her care for her two daughters.

"I am very grateful for the times that my family has filled in so that I could be in class,' Putnam said. "This has been a team effort. Having the support of my family has made the difficult times much easier. I would like to thank my husband, Donald, for working so hard and being the backbone of the family while I am in school."

Putnam says her desire to be a positive example for her two daughters has been a strong motivator for her to continue her education.

"I don’t want them to follow the same path that I did, but I want them to know that you can accomplish your goals," Putnam said.

For information about GED, Adult High School, and other HCC College & Career Services, call 565-4182 or email Like HCC on Facebook by searching for HCC College & Career Readiness.