STLCC, St. Luke’s Patient Care Technician Grad Shares Heartfelt Speech

By on June 25, 2019
STLCC St. Luke’s Patient Care Technician training graduates

Andrea Hopkins, a recent graduate from the STLCC, St. Luke’s Hospital patient care technician (PCT) accelerated training program, spoke on behalf of her cohort and shared profound sentiments during the graduation ceremony. The full transcript of Hopkin’s speech follows.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. My name is Andrea and I am one of the PCT students from this cohort. I am honored to have the privilege of speaking with you all today. These past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions, between the endless studying, learning how to manage a school/family life balance, and accepting the challenges that have popped up along the way. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world, because we made it.

If you would have told me a few years ago, that I would be here today in this spot, giving this speech and graduating from this program, I wouldn’t have believed you. I personally have always struggled with knowing my worth, accepting myself and seeing my capabilities, so starting and finishing this program has forcefully addressed all of those insecurities and changed me into a better person.

STLCC St. Luke’s Patient Care Technician graduate Andrea Hopkins

Patient Care Technician training program student, Andrea Hopkins, delivers her graduation speech.

I always knew I wanted to have a career in the medical field from around the age of seven. My heart is open to people and I have always had a strong urge to care and tend to others. In January of 2019, my whole world was flipped upside down after finding out my three year old daughter had to have brain surgery for a complicated cyst that was suppressing the fluid in her brain. Surgery was the only option and it had to be done quickly. Unfortunately 12 hours after being discharged home from the hospital post-surgery, things took a turn for the worst. My daughter had to be rushed back to the hospital via ambulance due to vigorous sepsis infection along with meningitis. My daughter lay lifeless in my arms with a fever that spiked up to 105.7. We spent the next days and weeks in Children’s Hospital with several outpatient visits as well. During this time, I was her constant caretaker and advocate. Upon her discharge, I remember feeling this overwhelming urge to get back in school. I needed to start my career in the healthcare field, and I needed to start right away. Being exposed to everything we were upon our stay, all of the tests, procedures, and seeing and communicating with the medical staff regarding her care, I knew I was ready to be on the other side of things so I could help people going through something similar. It sparked a fire inside of me that I had been hiding for so long and I was ready to put my knowledge, experience and whole self into a career I had always wanted. I immediately began research on various positions in the medical field, and the patient care technician stood out to me and gave me a stepping-stone in my full dream of one day becoming a nurse. I came upon the Patient Care Technician program on the STLCC website and that’s where my journey began.

This program has been such a blessing and I could not have asked for a better team of educators, program coordinators, classmates and preceptors. The process to start the program was pretty intense and consisted of a lot, but because of the staff, it was more than possible.

On the first day of school I remember being so nervous as we were introduced to our educators and classmates. We were told from the beginning that time would fly by and it sure did. Each of our professors came with different teaching styles, which I am extremely appreciative for getting to learn from each of them.

Dr. Furtado, you ensured we would be successful by checking in on us, making sure we were on time, calling us out if we weren’t, and making sure we stayed focused and kept our dreams within reach.

Ms. Robinson, you would bring us poems nearly every class you taught, and while some of them were sad, they really painted a picture of how important our job is to our patients.

Ms. Shaw, you were wonderful especially when it came to labs. Your patience and thorough explanation of techniques really stood out to me.

Dr. Johnson, you made class fun and brought the humor along with it. You took time out of your schedule to come up with games to help us memorize and master a lot of material.

Mr. Mink, you had so many stories and experiences and it was really inspiring to hear about all of the things you have done in your career and places you been and people you’ve reached.

Ms. Hudson, we didn’t get to see you as much as some of the other professors, but I immediately knew that you have done wonders in your career as a healthcare professional by your gentleness and preciseness especially when it came to safety and care.

Ms. Laurie Hawkins, I cannot say enough good things about you. You have truly been the glue that held this all together. From setting up the program, to interview prep and resume tips, to helping us find funding and giving us resources, to finalizing our clinical schedule and setting up this graduation, thank you for all you have done.

To St. Luke’s Hospital, thank you for hosting us and being so hands-on in the clinical portion of this program. Abbey, Mandi and Jayme were all so resourceful, personable, and it’s very clear why they were chosen to be clinical educators. I have learned so much from each one of you. I am so proud to have received education from such an inspirational employee- and patient-driven hospital. I am beyond excited to become an official St. Luke’s employee.

I have to give a shout out to my support system, as I couldn’t have done this without them. Thank you for stepping up with my children and ensuring I succeeded in this program. Thank you for dealing with my changing schedule, being there to listen and reminding me to stay strong and believe in myself. My family has been my biggest cheerleaders and I want you all to know that I did this not only for myself, but also for you.

I have developed friendships with my classmates that I know will last, and have loved getting to know each and every one of you. While we all come with different stories, backgrounds and personalities, we all have this special ability to have the compassion, empathy, dedication and drive to be amazing Patient Care Technicians. I cannot wait to watch us all flourish in our new careers.

Tanesha, you are one of a kind. You managed to work overnights, come to class eight hours a day and be an amazing mom on top of all of that. I admire you so much and your children are so lucky to have such a hard-working momma.

Natavia, I have enjoyed every moment spent with you. You are hilarious and have an amazing smile and heart. You are so easy to talk to, and know you are going to change many lives in this field.

Haley, I have always felt a special connection to you, as I feel in many ways we chose healthcare for some of the same reasons. When you experience health complications first-hand it really changes you, and will make your role crucial to your patients as you can really empathize with both them and the families.

Allie, you are young and full of life. Your patients will benefit from your sense of humor and your own personal experiences that you have shared with us. You will be an amazing advocate for your patients and they will be so lucky to have you.

Gege, kudos to you for figuring out how to make your dreams come alive while balancing a busy life with five kids. You have truly been able to show your whole family that hard work pays off and anything is possible.

I have no doubt that each and every one of us made it here today because this is what we were destined for. We will continue to learn more every day, gain experience and have the opportunity to further our education along the way if that is the route we choose. I have loved spending so much time with each of you all these past several weeks, and this graduation is bittersweet because I’m going to miss seeing you all every day. While I wish we could all work together on the same floor, on the same shift, I cannot wait to watch us all grow and flourish. We all have what it takes to ensure our patients are cared for in the best way possible. We have the knowledge, and we most certainly have the heart. I hope to stay connected with all five of you for the rest of my life.

I send us off with one of my favorite quotes…

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”

So get ready St. Luke’s, because the curtain has opened and the show starts now! Here comes your new Patient Care Technicians.

Are you interested in learning more about STLCC’s PCT accelerated training program? Visit or call 314-539-5900 to learn more.

About Rebecca Rutherford

Rebecca Rutherford is Marketing Communications Coordinator of St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group, which delivers non-credit continuing education opportunities, corporate training and community services to the St. Louis region.

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