Rachel Gutierrez has wanted a career in the healthcare industry for many years.
“I dropped out of high school and didn’t even get my high school equivalency diploma
until I was 38,” Gutierrez explained. “That was after having three children and suffering
Gutierrez was born in Mineral Wells, TX and moved to Midland at the age of 9 when
her parents divorced. She attended Midland public schools. When she dropped out
of high school, she married into a turbulent relationship. Before divorcing her husband,
she lived at Safe Place in Midland, and then thought it was best to move away from
Midland in order to escape her ex-husband. She ended up in the Tampa Bay, FL area.
“I mainly worked at fast food places, but I knew I was capable of doing more,” she
said. “So, I made the leap to go back to school to earn a high school diploma and
also take classes in a healthcare field.”
When Gutierrez received her high school equivalency diploma, she also completed Everest
University-South Orlando’s medical assistant program. From there, she worked as a
medical assistant for a short time until she moved back to Midland to care for her
mother who was ill.
“When my mother passed away seven years ago, I had a difficult time finding a job
as a medical assistant in Midland,’ Gutierrez stated. “Most entry-level healthcare
jobs require a certification, like nurse aide, phlebotomist and pharmacy technician.
So, I went back to the fast food industry and worked at Whataburger during the evening
shift. My dream was still to be a member of the healthcare profession, but I just
couldn’t make it happen.”
Gutierrez finally obtained employment with E Z Rider public transit in Midland and
started taking courses toward a Commercial Drivers License. Then she lost her job
due to the COVID pandemic.
“I was pretty devastated and didn’t want to have to go back to working in fast food,”
she said. “Thankfully, I found out about training opportunities for entry-level medical
careers at the Midland College Advanced Technology Center. I’ve completed Certified
Nurse Aide, Phlebotomy and Pharmacy Technician classes. Next fall I hope to begin
taking prerequisite courses for admission into the Vocational Nursing program.”
Her training at Midland College has been funded partially by the Dollie Ruth Neal
Scholarship, a grant given to the college by the Permian Basin Area Foundation and
awarded to single mothers who are seeking entry-level health careers. When she begins
taking Vocational Nursing courses at the main Midland College campus, she will be
able to take advantage of various donor-directed scholarships specifically awarded
to students studying healthcare professions.
Gutierrez currently works as a phlebotomist at Midland Memorial Hospital. She works
3:00-11:00 p.m. five days a week. For some people that shift may not seem ideal,
but compared to working all night at Whataburger, Gutierrez said it’s a “wonderful”
“I really like working in the medical environment,” she stated. “It’s steady employment,
and I enjoy caring for people. I hope to one day have direct responsibility for patient
care when I become a nurse.
“I’m 49 years old, and I’m finally able to realize my dream of working in healthcare.
I’ve learned that age doesn’t matter. There’s always something to be accomplished.
When I was living at Safe Place after being abused by my husband, I remember a speaker
who gave a presentation to us. He said, ‘Never quit—never let your dreams sleep.’
I will also remember those words and have taken them as my personal motto.”