After Lengthy Hospital Stay, Everything ‘Falling Into Place’ for King in Sandburg CNA Course

  Aaron Frey
  Tuesday, October 6, 2020 11:17 AM
  Campus News

Galesburg, IL

Following a six-month hospital stay in 2019, Mycheal King reflected on the gamut of emotions he had experienced.

Scared. Lonely. Anxious.

King was admitted in April 2019 and wasn’t released until that October because of a lengthy bout of pneumonia that doctors initially thought to be cancer. On top of that, King felt the care and bedside manner toward him during his stay was unprofessional and hurtful at times. Finally back home, he was ready for a fresh start.

“I have a picture of me when I was in the hospital that I deleted because they brought back old memories,” King said. “And my mom was like, ‘Stop living in the past.’ So I try to look further toward the future and build up from there.”

King’s first step was finding a way to help others going through what he’d experienced in the hospital. It led to him enrolling at Sandburg this fall to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).

“I was sitting at home just thinking about all the stuff that I had been through and I was like, man, I wouldn't want anybody ever to feel like how I felt,” King said. “So, I searched for CNA classes and Carl Sandburg was in Galesburg.”

CNAs fill a gap between patients and nurses by checking patients’ vital signs, asking about their conditions and helping put them at ease while in the hospital. The median annual salary for CNAs in west-central Illinois is more than $25,000.

Sandburg offers a four-month CNA course that leads to students becoming state-certified. Under the instruction of basic nursing program coordinator Stacy Bainter, students like King use Sandburg’s Nursing Skills Lab to learn and practice techniques such as ambulating patients and transferring them to lifts in addition to bathing, feeding and dressing them.

“Miss Stacy is the man. She's really good,” King said of Bainter. “I like her style of teaching because she has a hands-on approach and I'm a hands-on learner. She strives for us to be good CNAs. Our focus is on making sure that they're in a safe, positive and friendly environment. We want to make them feel like their home away from home.”

For King, 31, he hopes his career as a CNA will add to the stability he’s found within the last year. King grew up in Chicago, moved to Peoria as a teenager where he graduated from the former Woodruff High School and lived in Chicago and Indianapolis before his hospital stay. After getting out, he moved to Galesburg to stay with his parents. In addition to his studies at Sandburg, he helps others as a direct support professional at DD Homes.

“I needed to get myself together because I don't want to be in this predicament ever again,” King said. “Now all I do is go to school and go to work. As I'm going through class right now, everything's falling into place for the better of me.”

Sandburg offers a CNA certification course during the fall and spring semesters in addition to an 11-week course during its summer session. To learn more, contact the Carl Sandburg College Welcome Center at 309.345.3500 or

Mycheal King in CNA class

Mycheal King, a student in Carl Sandburg College’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) course, weighs a classmate on a chair scale during a recent class period. After a six-month hospital stay in 2019, King enrolled at Sandburg to become a CNA because he wanted to help others going through situations similar to what he went through. 

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Aaron Frey