West-MEC Graduate Plays Part in Helping the World Obtain Health for All

Connor Mattingly

Connor Mattingly completed the EMT program at West-MEC in 2012. Today, he is the Associate Registered Nurse (RN) Director at Banner Health. He cites West-MEC as the jump start to his career in the medical field.

Though he does not currently work as an EMT, many of the skills and best practices Mattingly learned in the West-MEC EMT program were also applicable in the nursing field, where he focused his attention and aspirations after graduation.

"The skills I learned during EMT school really set me up to be successful in my nursing program," said Mattingly. "A lot of the skills are the same, while they may look different, I had exposure doing those skills in a real-life setting, so my comfort level was way ahead of some of my colleagues just because I had been doing it in a real-life environment before."

Being in the medical field was something Mattingly knew he wanted to pursue from a young age, but he needed to figure out exactly what that looked like. The EMT program gave him a better idea of what exactly he was stepping into, and his desire for the medical field grew even stronger.

The West-MEC EMT program surrounded Mattingly with like-minded individuals interested in the same things as him and gave him a baseline set of medical skills, which he could wield in any subsection of the medical field. 

"The hands-on portion and the community that was built within the classroom was the best part. I loved my high school, but high school is pretty cut and dry," said Mattingly. "West-MEC was the first time I found something I was really passionate about and got to participate in that and go to school at the same time, which was really cool."

Mattingly has always been about health for all, this year's focus for World Health Day. It's the reason he joined the EMT program in the first place, he has a passion for helping people. 

"I always knew that I wanted to get into health care at some point but I didn't really know how," said Mattingly. "I found out about West-MEC from a family friend and figured it was worth a shot."

After West-MEC, Mattingly attended Arizona State University (ASU), earning his Bachelor's Degree in Registered Nursing. While at ASU, he participated in and led an EMT program and held a few EMT positions before he landed with Banner Health as a Registered Nurse in 2017. 

Five years later, in the fall of 2022, Mattingly was promoted to Associate RN Director, where he has continues to thrive and learn. Without West-MEC, he is unsure if he would have found as much success as he had at such an early career stage.

"My day-to-day is very different in this role. Before, I was giving bedside care to patients; now, I helpt to lead a team of about 140 nurses working in a cardiovascular intensive care unit," said Mattingly. "When I was bedside, my main responsibility was to care for the patients, now it is to care for my team. I remove barriers that are in the way for people to do their jobs well and provide opportunities to grow."

Nursing is a honorable career that is projected to have more than 200,000 openings each year over the next decade. Mattingly encourages anyone interested in healthcare to consider nursing. When Mattingly went to West-MEC, there wasn't a nursing program, but now, West-MEC is helping prepare students with the necessary clinical and administrative knowledge to become entry-level nursing assistants. 

Mattingly added final advice to anyone starting in their nursing or healthcare-related journeys:

"I would say nursing is very different than what I thought I was getting into. There's a lot of science involved which was very surprising and exciting to me. The profession has grown a bunch and continues to grow and I would say to someone just getting started out to prepare for a bumpy ride because we are going through a lot of changes right now. But the special thing about is you're focused on helping somebody who is giving you all of their hope at their most vulnerable time. But, I've loved it and honestly a little surprised at just how much I've loved what I do."