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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Nursing Assistant Alum makes Life-Saving Trips while serving her Country

Captain & Crew.jpg Courtesy Captain Natasha Cardinal

Natasha Cardinal is living her dream while admirably serving others. After taking a health care professional introductory course at Saint Paul College while still in High School, she realized her passion was health care. She took her Certified Nursing Assistant coursework at the college then began working at Healtheast (now Fairview) for 14 years while gaining invaluable experience in the medical field. She then made a life-changing decision to take this passion literally around the world as she joined the Air Force to serve as a Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCAT) Nursing Specialist.

Captain Natasha Cardinal now serves with the 18th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, based at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. This unit flies up to six patients at a time, including up to three critical patients, from the point of injury to higher care medical facilities in the US. Patient conditions range from trauma such as burns, IED blasts, multiple traumatic 

Cpt Life Saving Move.jpgCourtesy Captain Natasha Cardinal

injuries, and amputations to more medical, non-trauma patients such as those with more severe COVID conditions, patients on a ventilator, septic shock, or other multisystem organ failures. Captain Cardinal provides en route nursing care while the CCAT team also includes a Respiratory Therapist and a Medical Doctor specializing in critical care, emergency medicine, or anesthesia who provide life-sustaining services during long transports. Captain Cardinal says her work is exhausting, but she loves it as it gives her a strong sense of purpose. “I feel like I am truly making a difference in the world," says Captain Cardinal.

Fast-forward 20 years since her graduation at Saint Paul College, another Cardinal family member is ready to follow the same nursing care steps by beginning their training at Saint Paul College. Natasha's niece says she wants to follow her aunt's actions when she turns 16 next year and is eligible to enroll in the same health care professional introductory course. Not only are our nursing assistant alumni making life-saving impacts across the world, they even carry this passion through their generations! Learn more about our Nursing Assistant Program.

Read more about these life saving missions.

On a related note, Saint Paul College Leadership recently established a Veterans Committee to continue working with the State of Minnesota to become a Yellow Ribbon College with hopes of attaining that designation later this year.

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