Artina Holiday came to JCI after becoming unemployed as a home health worker in 2018. Upon entering JCI’s Individual Placement and Support Supported Services (IPS), she and her Employment Specialist set several goals, including obtaining and maintaining employment, pursuing a career in the healthcare field, and purchasing a vehicle.
During Artina’s first year participating in IPS, she worked several jobs in hospitality and foodservice. Her mindset was that she needed a job and income to survive; it didn’t matter what it was, but Artina struggled to maintain employment in these fields.
“My JCI IPS team helped me come up with a game plan to reach my goals. We worked towards that; no matter if I was working at other places, we still worked toward employment in the healthcare field,” said Artina.
Artina obtained a Certified Medical Assistant Certification (CMA) in 2015 but did not seek employment as a CMA due to lack of experience. JCI referred her to Vocational Rehabilitation. Janet Davis, the VR Unit Manager, arranged for a supported internship for her to work as a CMA at a local pediatric doctor’s office.
Artina completed a 4-month internship and gained the experience and confidence needed to apply for competitive employment in the healthcare field. “The JCI team and Janet did a great job motivating me, even when I didn’t want to do anything. They always created a way for me to accomplish my plan,” said Artina.
Today Artina is employed as a Certified Medical Assistant at Duke Children’s Specialty Clinic and has been for six months. “I mainly work in cardiology with children with heart issues or heart disease, and some have diabetes or blood issues. Other times I work in neurology and nephrology and deal with patients with kidneys and gastrointestinal problems. I also assist in the allergy department, testing to see what type of allergies may be present. I help keep kids calm and relaxed; that’s the tricky part. I stay busy.”
“I love that I’m able to help and that I’m able to do the work. I love it when the parents are at ease. I love making people feel comfortable. They are going through a lot, both the children and parents. A lot of the kids have already had surgery. It’s a delicate situation. I can empathize because there have been times that I didn’t know what was going on with me. I have health conditions, as well. I enjoy being a part of helping kids feel good or doing better. I feel fortunate to be able to help the doctors do what they need to do quickly.”
“This job gives me a purpose. I know I have somewhere to go and something to do. I need that. The fact that I get paid to do what I love lets me know that I’m worthy. I’ve earned something, and I can take care of myself. I can meet my own needs,” said Artina.
-JCI News Release