Kellogg High School students complete nurses assistant training through NIC

The North Idaho College Silver Valley Center will pin its first class of dual credit certified nursing assistants (CNAs)at 7 p.m. Monday, May 22 at Kellogg High School. The 11 students from Kellogg High School are the first to complete the CNA course for college credit through a partnership between Kellogg High School and NIC’s dual credit program, workforce training department and nursing department.
NIC’s CNA program has traditionally been offered through the Workforce Training arm of the college. Classes are offered about every six weeks at the Workforce Training Center in Post Falls and at various outreach centers throughout northern Idaho.
The CNA course had been offered before through Wallace High School, but only within the high school as a technical preparation course.
“This is the only class like this offered in our service area,” said NIC Distance Education Director Candace Wheeler. “We recognized that there was an interest from the high school students in this kind of training, so we worked out how we could offer it to them through our dual credit program, allowing them to receive both college and high school credit for taking the course.”
Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, are one of the many health care professions in high demand in today’s health care field. Many people test the waters of the nursing field as a CNA, also known as nurses’ aides or orderlies, before investing time and money in the educational requirements of becoming a registered nurse. CNAs work under the supervision of nurses and provide assistance to patients with daily living tasks.
CNAs must take the CNA coursework and then pass a written and skills exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, they are placed on the State Registry for CNAs. They are not certified or licensed in the State of Idaho, however, which is why the state refers to them as Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAPs).
Some of the 11 students that completed the high school course in the Silver Valley plan to take the exam in hopes of being placed on the registry and working as CNAs this summer.
The two-semester course was offered during zero hour at 7 a.m. to fit into the students’ schedules and the start and stop times remained flexible to help the course calendar mesh with the high school’s calendar.
Each student exceeded the required 80 hours of didactic and 40 hours of clinical experience to complete the course.
The course was taught by a husband and wife team, local instructors Rick and Terry Smith. Rick, the lead instructor, is a registered nurse and is employed in the emergency room at Shoshone Medical Center in Kellogg. Terry, clinical supervisor, is a practical nurse and works at the Silver Wood Good Samaritan Center in Silverton.
Shoshone Medical Center also played a critical role in the success of the course.
“They have provided not only the classroom space, but the equipment and supplies to complete the class,” said NIC Workforce Development Director Dennie Seymour. “They also provided the background screening and medical shots that are important to working in their facility, even though their staffing issues allowed for very few clinical experiences for the students. Most of the CNA clinical experience was completed at area long-term care facilities.”
NIC is offering another CNA course not linked to the high school this fall that is open for enrollment by community members. To sign up, call the NIC Silver Valley Center at (208) 783-1254.

For More Information
NIC Distance Education Director Candace Wheeler, (208) 769-5906, or Workforce Development Director Dennie Seymour, (208) 769-3222, or Silver Valley Center Educational Resources Coordinator Becky Powers, (208) 783-1254

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

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