From a young age, Galina Barko felt called to help those in need. “My entire life I liked to help people. And especially my family in Ukraine. When my grandma got a stroke, and when my father got sick, I always liked to help out.” For her, the healthcare field is the perfect fit.
Galina is currently an Anesthesiology Tech at Spokane’s MultiCare Valley Hospital, one of the Training Fund’s partner sites. As an Anesthesiology Tech, Galina provides vital and lifesaving care for patients undergoing anesthesia in the Operating Room (OR).
From Housekeeper to Anesthesia Tech
Galina began her healthcare journey at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital as a housekeeper for seven years, first as a general housekeeper and more recently as an OR housekeeper. Support from the Training Fund has enabled Galina to advance her career in healthcare.
While she “really liked” what she was doing in the OR, Galina’s life goal was to become an Anesthesia Tech – an ambition that meant going back to school to get her CNA license. That’s where she first encountered the Training Fund.
“I asked a couple co-workers about how I could get my CNA as fast as I could. And one coworker gave me Joshua Porter’s number, and I connected with [him].” Porter, who is now Director of Labor Management Programs, was a Regional Educational Navigator (REN) with the Training Fund at that time. RENs are Training Fund staff who work one-on-one with members to connect them with resources to support their career goals.
Working with the Training Fund
Together, Joshua and Galina mapped out a career path that helped Galina utilize Training Fund services to build the necessary skills and proficiencies. “He helped me a lot,” Galina said. “He explained [to] me and gave me suggestions on…how to apply [for a CNA program], how the Training Fund can help.”
When Galina needed help improving her English, Joshua found a tutor who could continue working with her to help her succeed. Galina, whose first languages are Ukrainian and Russian, remembered that “after I completed my [CNA] course, he also brought me an idea to have a tutor, and I can work with a tutor, and the tutor can help me improve my English and give me more success. And that’s when I started to work with [Training Fund tutor] Tula Holmes. And we’ve been working together, and she has helped me out…She’s my motivator!”
With Tula’s support, Galina has now set her sights even higher: a nursing degree. She has enrolled at Spokane Community College to begin preparing for the SCC Nursing Program. Asked how she was feeling, Galina replied, “Excited!…I like to be in school. Some people don’t like it, but I really like it.”
Galina values the confidence and encouragement that she received from her REN and the Training Fund: “I remember Joshua said, ‘Oh, Galina, you will be okay. You will be a good nurse. Don’t think you don’t have enough English to go to college.’ I really needed that because sometimes a new language is tough.”
Galina now advocates for the Training Fund’s programs and services among her coworkers, touting the Fund’s positive impact on her career and professional goals. Particularly after working with her tutor, Galina told everyone she knew, “You can have [a tutor] also… I told a bunch of my friends who need extra help and a free tutor!”
Galina is one of thousands of healthcare workers across Washington state who have benefitted from the Training Fund’s programs, support services, and resources, including: specialty certifications, healthcare apprenticeships, Tuition Assistance, English language support, individualized career counseling and more. The Training Fund is committed to helping its members reach their educational and career goals.