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“Why not phlebotomy?” Grad loved program that combines patient interaction with chemistry

Katryce Sykes-Williams

Background: Graduated No. 7 in her class from Warwick High in Newport News in 2005. Resides in Norfolk with her husband, Clarence Williams III, who earned his Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology at TCC and now works as a software engineer. They have three sons.

Degrees: Career Studies Certificate in Phlebotomy. In addition, Sykes has bachelor’s degrees in psychology, neuroscience, chemistry and biology from the University of Alabama-Birmingham

Occupation: In-office phlebotomist at a physicians group in Chesapeake. “As soon as I finished my internship in December 2015 and graduated from TCC, I got hired.”

Professional goal: To be a pediatric neurosurgeon

Why TCC?: “I graduated from Alabama and took some summer classes before actually enrolling in the phlebotomy program. I had four classes there and loved my instructors, but they were probably the four toughest classes I’ve ever taken in all of academia. I got A’s. They were not easy A’s to earn, but they were my proudest A’s I’ve earned. Now I’m applying to PA (physician assistant) school at EVMS, and you have to work 1,000 paid health care hours, so I thought why not phlebotomy? Even with all my degrees, I wanted to work in a field I enjoyed to get my 1,000 hours, so I checked out TCC’s program.”

Unexpected perk of TCC: “Another reason I chose TCC was because of the Child Development Centers. Child care is usually extremely expensive, but a friend told me TCC has child care right on campus. My son, Carter, who is 3, is at the Norfolk center. It’s his first school experience, and they made it really great for him. It’s income-based, and that makes it affordable.”

What she enjoyed about TCC: “Professor Angela Bell is amazing. I learned so much from her. She really prepped us for the internship at the end. The foundation I got there was excellent, and it’s a hands-on program, so by the time you come into your internship, you have confidence in what you’re doing. It didn’t make you so shell shocked when you have to work in the real world.”

Why phlebotomy?: “I really enjoy the patient interaction. We have little kids, babies, middle-aged people and the elderly. I love it. We do more than draw blood. I’m not just the technician; I do the accessioning, shipments and work closely with patients. You get a good patient care experience here, and you build a good relationship with physicians, who often let me shadow them when I get off work.”

Advice for potential student considering phlebotomy: “If you like a mixture of hands-on care, patient interaction and the actual chemistry portion, this would be a good program for you.”

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