Whether Hanna Smith is writing for the Springfield Business Journal or taking prerequisites for OTC’s surgical technician program, she always has one goal in mind: caretaking.
“I always write with the mindset, ‘How is this going to benefit someone?'” said Smith. “Now I’m ready to take that mindset into surgical tech.”
During the day, Smith works full-time as Springfield Business Journal’s features editor and audience development director. In the evenings, she takes the prerequisite courses for OTC’s surgical technician program.
But the decision to change careers wasn’t easy. According to Smith, writing always came naturally. She was home-schooled by her mother, a columnist for a local newspaper, and became a published author before graduating.
“Writing sort of fell in my lap, but now I’m ready to pursue my other passion,” said Smith.
Specifically, Smith wants to become a surgical technician, specializing in chronic pain.
“I want to be a part of finding the cure,” she said.
Her father is diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a rare disorder that causes chronic pain in the face and brain. Something as mild as smiling or brushing one’s teeth may trigger jolts of excruciating pain. The disorder was onset by trauma in Smith’s father, but can also be genetic — meaning that cases are often unique and difficult to treat.
“It’s known as the worst pain to man,” said Smith. “And I grew up watching someone I love deal with that, every day.”
However, eight surgeries later, her father is now living a pain-free life. While his condition isn’t cured, the last surgery numbed the nerve successfully.
To Smith, it was the surgical staff’s knowledge and dedication that gave her father a new chance at life.
“My mom has a husband. I have a dad. My niece has a grandpa, and it’s all because the medical team gave their best,” said Smith.
She also is confident that OTC is preparing her for excellence within the care-taking field.
“The instructors at OTC take time to get to know you and learn about your interests,” said Smith. “The teaching style is hands-on and very applicable to everyday life.”
Smith hopes to graduate by 2020, but until then, she is using her journalistic talents to help tell the stories of others. She is in the process of writing a book with a woman in Forsyth, Mo. about her life with chronic pain.
“The people with these diagnoses are under-served,” said Smith. “It’s my goal to give them the attention they deserve.”