People, Places & Events
Suday, December 26, 2010
|TVCC starts medical
program for area high school students
Special to The Monitor
ATHENSWith the largest segment of the U.S. population, the Baby Boomers, reaching retirement age, its no surprise that the demand for workers in the medical field is increasing.
With that in mind, the staff at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) is helping area teens get a head start in one of todays hottest career fields.
The statistics tell the story.
A visit to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website reveals some positive news to those looking to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, CNA.
A CNA, according to the bureaus website, helps care for physically or mentally ill, injured, disabled, or infirm individuals in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and mental health settings.
The demand for those in the CNA field is growing, expected to take a 19 percent jump between the years of 2008 and 2018.
Financial pressures on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible should boost admissions to nursing care facilities.
As a result, new jobs will be more numerous in nursing and residential care facilities than in hospitals, and growth will be especially strong in community care facilities for the elderly, cites the bureau website.
Those statistics are no surprise to Gayla Roberts, TVCCs Dean of Continuing Education.
Roberts department offers several entry-level job training programs in the medical field for adult-age students who want to get training in a medical support field, but who are not necessarily interested in pursuing a degree in the medical field.
In the past year, said Roberts, the enrollment in medical field courses has increased 82 percent.
Much of the credit for the increase goes to a brand new program, which began in August.
This fall, the college started working with area school districts to allow students who were still in high school to enroll in dual-credit Certified Nurse Aide classes.
The program is designed to help high-school students get all the training they need to go directly into the workforce as a CNA. The CNA training program lets students as young as 16 begin earning a certification in the field.
In January, 2010, the college was approved for a $95,000 Job Education Training (JET) grant through the state. With the grant funds, TVCCs Continuing Education Department was able to update its medical programs with new equipment.
A new Advanced Medical Skills lab was created where students could receive hands-on skills training.
We decided to put in the Certified Nurse Aide training for high-school students because we were getting requests from area school districts for better job training, Roberts said.
Her department began talking to school districts, and the response was overwhelming.
In no time at all, ISDs in Athens, Edgewood, Eustace, Kemp, Mabank, Trinidad, Malakoff and Westwood were all signed up.
This semester, 129 students from eight school districts in the area have students in the CNA program.
Although the students are in high school, they go through the same certification process as adults in the same program.
Our students are very well trained and ready to go directly to work, Roberts said.
Those high school students have to complete nearly 100 hours of instruction in order to earn their certification. Twenty-four of those hours are in a nursing home.
The classes are taught by nurses who have worked at least one year in a nursing care facility.
Many of the classes are taught by Jane Fritz.
Fritz was hired by the college this year to oversee the medical classes offered by TVCC Continuing Education.
She teaches them everything from how the joints of the body work to the basics on drawing blood from a patient.
The students attend some classes at their home schools and some at TVCC in the colleges new medical skills lab, which was also financed with the JET grant funds.
We work very hard on helping our students succeed and giving them the best training we can, Fritz said. The students get far more than just the basic training.
But even after many hours in the classroom, students still have to pass a state licensing exam in order to begin work.
It has been a shift, said Roberts, to begin focusing on students who are not adult age.
It is an amazing thing for us to be able to offer a state-credentialed certification to a student who is not yet out of high school, said Roberts.
The program is also designed to help those students whether high-school age or adult transition into a degree-earning program such as nursing. Those students who complete the CNA training can receive credit for their training if they enroll in TVCCs nursing program.
For more information about Certified Nurse Aide classes for adults and high-school students, call the TVCC Continuing Education Department at (903) 675-6212.
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