Students enrolled in the CNA class have the opportunity to receive dual
credit meaning they can receive credit at West Grand and credit with
Colorado, Northwestern Community College. The mannequins were
provided by the Middle Park Medical Center who has also played a vital
role in establishing the class. (L to R) Kiahna Pasillas, Jimmy Uren, Jordan
Knight, Shona Page, Kaylie Murphy, Marissa Cereceres, Ashley Matney
and Raphael “Junior” Dominguez. Photo: Kim Cameron

West Grand High School is answering the call for relevant and reallife education. Seven WG students are currently enrolled in a high school class to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

The semester long course is taught by the school nurse Shona Page, and trains students to perform the fundamental skills of a nurse’s aide.

The students enrolled in the CNA course must complete 90 hours of training through lectures and labs and complete 23 hours of clinical experience.

Three weeks into the CNA course and students are already versed in bedside manner, verbal and nonverbal communication, what to do in case of an emergency, don and doffing PPE (personal protective equipment) and hand washing technique.

Students enrolled in the CNA course are blessed with a small class size that allows them ample time to practice skills they are learning. They are also blessed with materials and supplies for hands-on practice.

The corner of the high school classroom has been transformed into a hospital bedroom that allows the students to immediately practice what they are being taught. The students have everything they need to complete a skill – latex gloves, gowns, masks, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, gate belts and clothing. After learning the basics of nursing skills, personal care skills and safety and emergency care skills, the high school students will be able to work with patients at Casey’s Pond in Steamboat Springs, CO.

After their required coursework and clinicals are successfully completed, students will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the Colorado Board of Nursing certification exam which is required to become a fullfledged CNA. Students also receive high school credit on their transcript and receive college credit at CNCC. “The class gives the students an invaluable experience,” said Shona Page.

The class is replicated from a successful model implemented at the Soroco High School by the Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC). Julie Hoff, Concurrent Enrollment Coordinator with CNCC, helped coordinate the class and felt it was a good fit for West Grand and provided an opportunity for higher education. Page continued, “Along with the invaluable guidance and assistance of CNCC, the Middle Park Medical Center was also integral in the grant process and providing key supplies for the class to be successful.” MPMC received a seed grant from Colorado Rural Health Center to help launch the course.

The funding was directly invested into the program. West Grand students in the course are required to be at least 16 years old and were required to get a flu shot and tuberculosis test all of which were provided by MPMC. MPMC also donated equipment and supplies and provided the staff for the students to be CPR trained. Students cited a variety of reasons for wanting to take the course.

However, all the students shared a desire to work in the medical field in either nursing or in the military. Raphael “Junior” Dominguez commented, “I want to be a medic and this training will give me the basic groundwork to achieve this goal.” Fellow students, Jimmy Uren and Jordan Knight echoed these sentiments and also expressed their desire to join the armed services to be a medic. While Ashley Matney, Kiahna Pasillas, Kaylie Murphy and Marissa Cereceres all hope to become registered nurses.

“Students who complete the state certification will be able to work in the medical field as a CNA, and those students entering into the workforce after high school, will always have a vocational trade they can relay on.

The class will also give those students an advantage that want to go on and continue their education in the medical field,” commented Page about the training students received.

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