Paige Cameron, CFNN Reporter
Donna Allen has been working at Cape Fear for longer than most students at Cape Fear have been alive. She started her career here, and she sees herself finishing it at Cape Fear High School. Allen has contributed to the Colt family by teaching all about the medical field and the opportunities it has for students. She has guided Cape Fear students who want to pursue a career in medicine by teaching them how to be a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Mrs. Allen wasn’t always a teacher; she worked in the medical field for most of her life. She has worked in a variety of disciplines, including hospice, home health, long term care, and much more. She began her career working in long term care facilities and home health before working for hospice. She worked for hospice for five years before deciding she wanted to teach future students who were interested in medicine.
She always knew she was interested in the medical field. Right after high school, she got a job as a medical secretary for Johnston Memorial Hospital as an x-ray secretary who transcribed x-ray reports. “I did transcription, and that’s kinda how I learned my anatomy because they x-rayed every bone in the body.” Allen knew from her first job in the hospital setting that working with patients is what she was meant to do.
After working as a medical secretary for a number of years, Allen decided to quit work to spend time with her daughter, who was two at the time. After some reflection, she knew she wanted to do more with her life, so she decided to go into nursing. “Since I had that medical background with working as a medical secretary, it was a good fit.” She said.
After working in the medical field for years, she decided she wanted to step back and go into education. She was interested in teaching students who wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. “Just enjoying the young people and watching them grow and learn and become interested in the medical field.” It’s very clear that she has achieved what she set out to do.
As she joined Cape Fear, she took over the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) club. Since she took over the club seventeen years ago, she has expanded and grown the club tremendously. “I’ve grown a lot, not only with HOSA but as a teacher. With experience, you try to make improvements. I think I have improved the whole program altogether.”
Allen believes watching her kids grow and enjoy experiencing what the medical field has to offer is the best part of HOSA. “Just doing things with the kids that they normally wouldn’t be able to do.” She said.
She sees HOSA as a great club to allow her kids to flourish and even decide what they might want to do one day. The club provides significant opportunities for students by expanding their knowledge and allowing students to come together who all share a common interest in the medical field.
Allen says the best part of teaching comes from the students she has each year. “I really enjoy the students and going to competitions for HOSA. Over the years, there have been so many different personalities and fun with some of these students. Just enjoying the young people and watching them grow and learn and really get interested in the medical field.”
As she started her teaching career at Cape Fear, she couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else. The support from the staff and the students creates a sense of community at Cape Fear that she never wants to leave until she retires.
Thankfully, Cape Fear gained a new member of their staff seventeen years ago. She has been able to transform the CNA program by having a 100% passing rate for the last fifteen years. Her 100% passing rate shows her dedication to her students and shows how excellent she is at teaching. Allen has proven to make Cape Fear’s CNA program one of the best in Cumberland County.
Cape Fear is very lucky to have her!