Training for the future

St. Edmond High School is offering its students a nurse aide course. The class, held at Marian Home, gives students a first opportunity to work with actual patients in a real nursing home environment.

“Our students go over and learn basic nursing skills for if they were going to work at a nursing home,” Paula Florey, St. Edmond counselor, said. “Patient care, those types of things.”

Students in the class also receive college credit, Florey said.

“Iowa Central (Community College) actually is providing an instructor, and Marian Home is paying for that instructor,” she said. “They have all the equipment we need. The beds, the belts for helping the patients, all of that is being provided by the Marian Home, so it’s a win-win situation for our students. They’ll do actual clinical within the actual Marian Home setting, with the patients.”

The requirements of the high school class are the same as a college, Florey said.

“They have to put in the required amount of hours for classroom and clinical time, which is kept by the instructor, and then they would have to take a test at the end to be certified, to be a CNA,” she said. “It requires the student to work in a nursing home, but it’s also required for Iowa Central if the student’s going into nursing.”

There is great interest in the single semester course, which began in January, according to Florey.

“(Fort Dodge) Senior High has offered this class in the past, and the requirement of the course is you can only have 10 students per instructor when they go into the clinical environment. So it’s been hard for our students to get into a course at Senior High, because obviously their students have first priority,” she said. “Right now we have nine students, so we’re one away from being full for the course.”

The class, Florey said, is a tremendous benefit for its students interested in the nursing field.

“Kids who are looking at going into nursing at Iowa Central, they tell them they need a CNA course and they need human anatomy, so realistically our students can get those courses finished and go right into the nursing program at Iowa Central, and that’s been very helpful,” she said. “In the past we’ve had kids drive to various locations during the summer trying to get the CNA class done so they can go right into the nursing program. That’s been the hold up for a lot of our students.”

Mary Gibb, St. Edmond Catholic School president, said the partnership reflects the school’s greater efforts to expand its students’ educational options.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our students,” Gibb said. “One of my goals is to get more and more classes like this in our curriculum so that our students can earn college credits as well as high school credits, and get a jump start on their future.”