Carla’s Story: A Working Mom Goes Back to School

Carla Desrouleaux had an uphill battle to become a surgical technician. “Being at Swedish Institute was one of the main places to learn… about balancing life and school and family all at once.” As a mom to two children working as a medical assistant at hospitals across the city, Carla knew she wanted more for herself and her family.  

Starting part-time at Swedish Institute in October of 2020, Carla graduated from Swedish Institute as a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) in December of 2023. This is the story of how going back to school and raising a family is an achievable goal for a working mom. 

Going to School as a Working Mom

Many prospective students worry about balancing their home life and responsibilities with their studies. Swedish Institute has programs and schedules that allow students to attend classes that work on timelines built for busy individuals. Our admissions program works with students to build schedules that make sense for their needs, and our school offers support to help students prepare for busy schedules.

Carla’s Journey 

Carla worked as a medical assistant at an esthetics clinic before the pandemic when she realized she wanted a change. “I was dealing with the surgeons, and I couldn’t do anymore, but I wanted to keep working harder and get to a higher level.” This time spent with surgeons inspired Carla to return to school to become a CST. However, the mother of two still needed to earn money and raise a family while going to school. “Sending my kids to school and then focusing on my own education was tough, but it worked out in the end.” 

Carla loved helping people, and doing clinicals at Kings County Hospital gave her even more appreciation for the work. She found pride in every kind of surgery she worked on, but one stood out in particular: Labor and Delivery. But at the end of the day, every surgery mattered to Carla, and her work was always crucial.   

Carla is another great Swedish Institute success story, and her work has paid off. In March 2024, Carla began a job at Brookdale Hospital, which she found with help from Career Services Director Richard Gardner. “He sent me to multiple interviews to ensure I’d find a job soon.” 

One of Carla’s proudest moments was attending her graduation ceremony last year, where her nine-year-old son watched his mother walk across the podium and receive a diploma. “It made him realize he could do the same in the future.”