Skip to main content

Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center

Back to blog

A Supportive Career: Marti Erice, CNA-2

This article was written by Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center (NEOAHEC). It is the intellectual property of NEOAHEC. This piece of writing in its entirety cannot be altered without explicit permission. NEOAHEC is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under U77HP03052.


Marti’s occupational passion for helping people and her extracurricular passion for traveling the world are complemented by the flexibility of her position as a CNA. She discovered this career path at MedQuest, and the life-long friendships she made during the program has encouraged her to continue giving back to NEOAHEC years after entering the workforce.

Marti Erice just returned from a vacation in Panama. She’s been working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Saint Anthony Hospital in Pendleton for six years, and her schedule entails three 12-hour shifts per week. This alternative schedule has given her time to travel to six counties: Spain, Australia, Paraguay, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Panama. Marti explains, “Although the twelve-hour shifts can be long and tiring sometimes, the four days off make it well worth it.” Marti has enjoyed meeting new people and learning about other cultures. She continues, “I have family in Spain and Australia and one of my good friends lives in Paraguay, so I went to those places to visit them, and then I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua. I have been very lucky and am thankful that I have been able to travel to so many different places.” Being able to have the time to indulge her hobbies (both outdoors, camping and traveling, and indoors, reading and crafting) is one of the things that make being a CNA so appealing to Marti.

Marti decided to become a CNA while participating in MedQuest. She recalls, “I was able to job shadow not only the career paths I thought I wanted to pursue, but also ones that I had absolutely no interest in. I was surprised by all of them.” Marti was most intrigued by the nurses because they provide the foundation for patient care, constantly on the lookout for unnoticed symptoms in order to provide the most detailed care. She finds this versatility to be particularly important in rural settings because of the scarcity of resources. She says, “We don’t have many specialty departments within our hospital, so we have to be able do it all and jump in where we’re needed.” Being a CNA is Marti’s way of contributing to a rural healthcare environment that is as comprehensive as the care available in urban areas.

In addition to helping Marti find a career that gives her flexibility to live the life she wants, MedQuest was also a place for her to meet peers who share her interest in healthcare. These relationships have helped her feel more confident about herself and her ability to make choices about her future. As a result of MedQuest, Marti says, “I gained a support group of people that helped me maneuver through these big life decisions.” These new friends have been great people to share her journey with, and she finds support, advice, and comfort in them. She met one of her best friends at MedQuest, a person who she could talk to about anything. She says that kind of friendship “gives you someone to confide in, who understands what you are going through…and it gives you a person to challenge you in your journey.” Marti has no doubt that this friendship will last a lifetime. Even though they both are from Eastern Oregon and have careers in healthcare, they might never have met without MedQuest.

The connections and friendships that Marti made through NEOAHEC programming inspired her to continue working with the organization. She sees the staff as her mentors, and she has shown her passion for the AHEC pathway by serving as a camp counselor for the last seven years. She says, “NEOAHEC continues to support me in my journey, and being a counselor allowed me to do the same for the many campers I have had the privilege of getting to know.” She loves being a mentor to students who are in the same place she was when she discovered the nonprofit.

Like many of us, Marti didn’t know what she wanted to do after high school. NEOAEHC allowed her find her path and the life she wants—caring for her community, spending time with her family and friends, and traveling the world.


There are endless paths you can take to living the life you dream of. NEOAHEC can show you how achieve your goals through a career in rural healthcare and will provide a space for you to meet like-minded individuals along the way.