U Can 2: A pathway to a medical profession

TC Regional Health Care Corp. spotlight on Lynette Goldtooth-Begay

Lynette Goldtooth-Begay

Lynette Goldtooth-Begay

TUBA CITY -- Registered nurse Lynette Goldtooth-Begay has been an employee at TCRHCC since 2005. She is from the maternal Deer Water, Red Butte Clan and Paternal Edgewater, Towering House Clan.

Begay graduated from Tuba City High School and then went on to earn her associate of applied science degree in nursing from Mohave Community College in Kingman. She works in the Intensive Care Unit and she is a Basic Life Support instructor and Advance Cardiac Life Support instructor.

She said she came back to Tuba City because she could foresee the high need for registered nurses in the area.

"At a national level there is a nursing shortage, and it further greatly impacts any reservation," Begay said.

When asked what she liked about her job, she responded, "It is a privilege to work with a great and awesome ICU team at TCRHCC. As in any medical field, you continue to learn o a daily basis. I can relate to many present challenges our people one the reservation encounter on a daily basis from children to elderly."

Begay encourages others achieve goals they set.

"Pursue your dreams, your goals, and destiny," stated Lynette. "When I became an EMT-basic with Navajo Nation EMS, I thought I was only going to pursue a medical career for no more than two years. Here I am 15 years later, now an EMT-paramedic, which I achieved about eight years ago.

"My second goal was to become an RN, which I accomplished last year in 2005. My third goal is to obtain a bachelor of science, I am now in the process of pursuing."

Begay said she is still thinking about what her next goal will be.

"It was not a walk in the park," she said. "I worked full-time as an EMT-paramedic and went to school full-time (taking pre-requisites and nursing didactics and clinicals). I had a pretty tense schedule, commuting to Flagstaff, Lake Havasu, Kingman, Bullhead City, Las Vegas, and St. George."

Starting at Dine College, Begay said she was able to complete pre-requisites, there such as math, English, and other liberal arts classes that would transfer to a university.

"Being in a remote area, I started to look up web and on-line classes, and taking other classes at Coconino Community College, Northern Arizona University and Mohave Community College," she said.

Financial aid was another hurdle.

Working full-time paid for her meals, gas, vehicle maintenance and lodging, but Begay said she did take student to cover tuition and books.

"This is another reason I returned to Tuba City," she said. "TCRHCC is apart of the IHS Loan Repayment. The IHS Loan Repayment allows me to pay off my student loans for services provided, so in two years my student loans will be paid off."

Begay mentioned that Marjorie Yazzie Goldtooth, Beatrice Perry and her Grandfather Frank Goldtooth Sr. all had a strong influence on her.

"As a child, I noticed my aunts' impact on people -- to be gentle and healing licensed practical nurses (LPN)," she said. Lynette said that she learned

From her grandfather, Begay said she learned "T'aa Hwo'aji't'eego ta. He encouraged us to achieve our goals and [said] nobody is going to do it for you."

Begay took time to express her gratitude to those who helped her along the way.

"I'd like to thank everyone whom helped me accomplish my goals, especially Navajo Nation EMS," she said. "They allowed me to work full-time, and work around my school schedule. You guys Rock!'"

What the job entails

What do they do? Registered nurses plan, deliver and evaluate nursing care.

Specializations: Obstetrics, surgery, psychiatry, cardiac care, oncology, orthopedics and many other health care areas

Preferred education: Associate's or bachelor's degree for most RNs; master's degree or above for advance practice nurses.

Certification/licensing: State license required

Getting ahead: Can advance by moving into nursing management or by getting an advanced degree in a specialist area

Where they work: Hospitals, research facilities, clinics, long-term care facilities, private practices

Job outlook: Excellent

Earnings: Usually in the $35,000 to $70,000 range

Take that first step

Anyone who would like more information about various medical professions such as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, X-ray technician or medical lab technologist, can contact Lt. Stephen D. Navarro at 928-283-2710, Michelle Francis at 928-283-2041 or Lt. Shannon Newland at 928-283-2598.

(US Public Health Service Lt. Stephen D. Navarro is nurse recruiter at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp.)

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