Heather Ellis has been teaching clincial rotations, a class focused on getting students ready to enter the medical field. She started the phlebotomy unit with her students to get them their certification. 

Clinical Rotations students use gloves, alcohol pads, a tourniquet, a collection tube and needle, and bandages to draw blood

     “If they successfully get all their sticks in and pass the certification test, they get their certification and they can work anywhere where they need technicians,” Ellis said.

     Students need to draw blood from 30 people before they can take their certification exam but because of COVID-19, it was a little difficult to find volunteers.

     “In the very beginning it was hard,” she said. “And then eventually we had teachers come down on a regular basis, but some people are a little nervous about having their blood drawn.”

     One of those teachers that would come in on a regular basis was Michael Robey, a health science teacher who retired last year, along with his wife Janet.

Sophia Gonzales palpates Michael Robey’s arm to find a vein to start drawing blood.

     “We were here for at least 3 to 4 weeks,” Michael Robey said. “It’s just that kids need experience and if they’re going to be a good phlebotomist, then they need to try multiple types of people.” 

     His former student, Mariana Lee Acevedo, was very sad when Robey retired last year.

     “I’ve missed him so greatly,” Lee Acevedo said. “Because you never know how a lesson will turn out with Mr. Robey. And although he was ready to retire, he still cared. You could tell he cared for his class greatly. And that he cared what he was teaching and that he let us know of his opinions. That just made the whole class super interesting.”

For Ellis, the the dedication the Robeys show means so much to her as a teacher.

Oh my gosh, it just shows how much they care about the students, the passion for teaching,” Ellis said. “It just warms my heart just to know that they, they still care about the kids, and teaching our future generation.”

     The Robeys would often give tips and pointers while students would draw his blood as a way to encourage them and make them feel confident in what they’re doing.

     “He gave me tips on how to dispose of the needle, how to gently put the two into the little vacuum for when you’re changing tubes, which is what you do when you’re collecting tubes,” Lee Acevedo said. “And the fact that he was still coming in was amazing. He was our patient. And he would literally let us poke his blood time and time again. And that’s not something a regular person would do. That’s more than human decency. That’s kindness out of his heart.”