Finding Her Niche in Nursing

Allison Smith (Class of ’21) credits her courses, clubs, and teachers with helping her find her place in the medical field.


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2021 Dallastown graduate, Allison Smith, working at York Hospital as a Nursing Assistant.

Imagine you are fresh out of high school with an ambition to become a nurse, and all you have is the books to back you up.

You have never seen behind those “staff only” doors at the hospital, and then one day you walk through those doors and are expected to apply those book skills.

That dream became a reality for York College freshman, Allison Smith, who is a Nursing Assistant at York Hospital.

So what does the new Nursing Assistant, who started at the beginning of 2022, do on a daily basis with little experience in the medical field? 

“My responsibilities at York Hospital include, getting vitals & blood sugars, changing, ambulating, bathing, and providing daily cares for patients. Overall, I assist the RN’s, transporters, RTs, and anyone else who may need an extra set of hands.” Smith explains.

But how would someone get a career like job that requires years of schooling, right out of high school? 

Smith states that she had a little help when it came to her job choice.

“The anatomy teacher Mr. Gould gave me the advice to get a job in healthcare as soon as possible so I went to Wellspan’s career page and inevitably found my job there.”

Here at Dallastown, students are offered many opportunities to take classes of their choosing that involve the medical field. There is no class that pertains to just nursing, but Smith states there are classes that she took that help her day to day with her job. Those classes included, “Honors & AP Chemistry, honors and AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and AP statistics.” 

Gould was very wise and helpful when it came to Smith’s education and career decisions. 

I would advise them to get a job in healthcare early, take as many upper-level classes as you can, go to any nursing exposure programs, and be very open minded. Becoming a nurse is very difficult so determination and perseverance is a must.

— Allison Smith

Gould stated that Dallastown offers CPR & First Aid, which can be taken for college credit. Also, there are classes you could take outside of Dallastown like having a dual enrollment at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. But if that college doesn’t sound like something you like, you can take an EMT course at Wellspan York Hospital for dual enrollment. 

“We have an agreement with Manor Care Dallastown, to be trained as a Certified Nurse Assistant, in an internship environment. We have other agreements at other Healthcare facilities for some longitudinal job shadowing in an internship environment” Gould states. 

In addition to the classroom, Dallastown also offers the Health STAT club, advised by Gould.

Smith was a part of the DHS Health STAT club in her time at DHS. 

“This club truly helped me to explore healthcare before I was even employed as a Nursing Assistant. This club often brought in guest speakers that worked within different fields of healthcare and provided learning opportunities (examples: Penn State inspired nurses program).”

 Dallastown students who are determined to make it through the medical field are encouraged to take advantage of these classes and clubs to further their education and to get a job right after high school. 

Mr. Gould advises, “ALL SCIENCE classes, students KEEP taking them even if you think science classes are hard.  You have great teachers here at Dallastown, please take advantage of them now.”