Adelina Peña

Adelina Peña

Adelina Peña had been interested in working in health care for years, but it wasn’t until learning about the Partners in Career and Workforce Development program at a job fair a few years ago that she discovered how to make it happen.

PCWD is a free eight-week training program designed to help local residents prepare for, obtain and succeed in entry-level employment at Partners institutions, including BWH. The training program includes four weeks of classroom instruction and a four-week internship in a clerical or support staff position at a Partners hospital.

In addition to invaluable training related to résumé writing, interviewing skills and medical terminology, the program also focuses on other professional skills, including communication, problem-solving, customer service, attitude, and professional dress and appearance.

Graduates of the program have been matched in positions such as office assistant, unit coordinator, patient service coordinator, practice secretary, laboratory aide, medical records clerk and operating room assistant at BWH and Massachusetts General Hospital.

After applying to the program and completing a screening and testing process, Peña was accepted into the July 2013 PCWD class. Her internship was spent working as an anesthesia technician in BWH’s Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, where she was offered a full-time job after completing the program. She says that her BWH internship was the first step in a long journey of personal and professional growth.

Today, Peña is a BWH anesthesia technician and nursing student at Lawrence Memorial/Regis College in Medford. She is also the mother of 3-year-old Amelia.

“The PCWD program jumpstarted everything for me and enabled me to go to the next level,” she said. “It opened up job opportunities and networking relationships I had never thought would be available to me. I have received incredible coaching from BWH career coach Amy Zydanowicz, who helped me brainstorm the types of career paths I might want to explore.”

Working as an anesthesia technician has exposed Peña to different career growth opportunities. She is pursuing her associate’s degree in nursing, which she expects to earn next May. From there, Peña plans to enroll in a bachelor’s degree nursing program and aspires to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist at BWH someday.

Peña says her proudest accomplishment was getting accepted into nursing school and surviving the first year, especially with the intense clinical work.

“It was extremely difficult to balance school, work and being a mom, but I am very grateful to have an incredibly supportive manager and supervisor who have been very accommodating with my work schedule, especially around exam times,” said Peña. “In addition, I never could have done this without the support of my mother, who helps me take care of my daughter.”