EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) - She's a single mom who served 11 years in the military. Now, this nurse practitioner is hoping to land a healthcare job in a tough economy. The recent closure of Hawaii Medical Center has made it that much more challenging for Thursday's "Hire a Hero".
You can tell Tracy Pollard-Johnson has a good bedside manner, especially when describing her patients. "Even though I'm taking care of them, they're teaching me things, too."
The 36 year old Army veteran has been looking for work since last April - when she received her master's degree as a nurse practitioner from HPU.
"I know a lot of people are looking for an experienced nurse practitioner, so what I'm truly looking for, my dream job is just an internship, at least for year, if I can get my skills and get my one year as a new nurse practitioner under my belt," explains Pollard-Johnson.
She's hit walls in her search. Employers want experience, but how do you get experience without a job? Still, Pollard-Johnson - who spent 11 years as an RN - remains focused on becoming a nurse practitioner.
"I worked so hard to get my master's as a nurse practitioner, and I really want to show my son that, you know, when you go to school you get a degree, you want to work in that job. I want to be a good example for my son."
She's raising 13 year old Nigel on her own after her husband, also a veteran, died of throat cancer. Right now, they're living off savings.
"When you don't have a job, there's a stereotype that you're lazy. You're not looking. You're sitting at home doing nothing and that you don't want a job. So, I think that's the stressful part of it."
If you can help Tracy Pollard-Johnson or any of our veterans find employment, contact Alvin Tsukayama at the state's Workforce office. Alvin.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans looking for work will have an opportunity to chat with potential employers next Wednesday, January 18th, at the Blaisdell. The "Jobquest Hire a Hero" job fair will feature 150 employers. It runs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.