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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

On Track Academy senior Kevin Reyes already works in chosen field: health care

Kevin Reyes is set to graduate from On Track Academy. Reyes will graduate with about 35 college credits and has already earned a license in home care aid, according to student adviser Rick Havermann said. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Katie Kales For The Spokesman-Review

Maintaining a full-time student schedule while having a full-time job and living on his own, Kevin Reyes finds little time to sleep.

Working 40 to 48 hours a week, Reyes spends most of his time with his patients at Brighton Court, an assisted living and memory care facility.

“That’s it,” he said, sipping on a caramel macchiato. “That’s really all I do.”

When he isn’t taking care of the residents at Brighton Court, he spends what little time he has catching up on sleep and his studies.

Reyes, who is pursuing a career in nursing, is enrolled at Spokane Falls Community College through a Running Start program and attends On Track Academy, though he has no classes there.

“A person his age doesn’t normally have his goals and ambitions. Usually they’re trying to graduate and have a little fun, but he’s focused on his future,” said Debbie Brouillette, registered nurse and health services director at Brighton Court.

Reyes’ passion for a life in the health care industry originates from a lineage of nurses in his family, on his mother’s side, and a personal experience that shaped his outlook on the health care facility.

“My brother got really sick, and he was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and when I was there visiting him I could see the nurses made him really happy,” he said. “I thought that (was something) I wanted to do.”

The experience with his brother shaped the way Reyes views the roles of nurses, and why he finds so much joy in his job at Brighton Court.

At Brighton, he serves as the med tech, which means he controls the medications given to patients and administers the medicine. He oversees the floor and personal care attendants.

“A month ago, I got training (to be a) med tech, so now I control the narcotics and such,” he said. “I carry the big keys.”

Before his role as the med tech, Reyes himself was a PCA at Brighton. Prior to that, he worked as a home-care aide, and helped patients maintain comfortability while giving them care.

Reyes worked at Papa Murphy’s before he transitioned into the health care world. However, during this transition he was juggling school and three jobs all at once.

“For a month I was working three, while I was switching over (jobs),” he said. “I don’t believe in just quitting.”

Reyes decided to change jobs to gain more experience. Brouillette emphasized his drive and work ethic.

“Whenever he’s on shift I know it’s going to be good day. He’s been a dream come true,” she said.

Reyes wants to finish schooling at SFCC, become a registered nurse and continue working in geriatrics. Caring for the most vulnerable, he says, is some of the most rewarding work for him.

His care for patients has not gone unnoticed.

“We love having him in the memory care (department),” Brouillette said. “The residents don’t feel intimidated by him, he’s very nonthreatening, which is what they need. They need to feel safe.”

Katie Kales is a Gonzaga University student.