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Hands On Skills: St. Edmond offers nurse aide course

By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
(Email Renee)

FORT DODGE – A new class offered at St. Edmond High School gives students a chance to gain hands-on experience and explore work in the medical field.

Paula Florey, guidance counselor at St. Edmond, said a nurse aide course was offered for the first time at the high school starting with second semester in January.

Florey worked with St. Edmond’s president, Mary Gibb, and the administrator of Marian Home, Eric Halverson, to get this course up and running.

“The three of us got together and brainstormed how we could make this course work, so not only would our students be able to have access to taking the course but possibly after they finished, if they became certified nurse assistants, Eric would have a bigger pool to get employees from as well,” Florey said. “We thought it was a win-win situation for our students and for the Marian Home.”

The public school in Fort Dodge does teach the nurse aide class, but given the size limitations of the class of 10 students to one teacher, usually there was not room for St. Edmond students to take the class.

Florey said they would not have been able to offer the course without partnering with the Marian Home.
With the course offered at the Marian Home, St. Edmond students are able to walk across the street to the nursing home for the course that is offered in the last period of the school day. They are scheduled to stay a little bit longer so if they would need a full hour or hour-and-a-half of class time or clinical time, Florey said the length of the class has built-in flexibility.

An instructor from Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge teaches the course, which is open to juniors and seniors at St. Edmond. Students will receive three college credits from Iowa Central upon completion.

Jessica McClintock, a senior, said she took the class because she needs to have a CNA for the career field she plans to enter.

“Class has been going well,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot of ways to take care of people in long-term care facilities.”

Some of the plusses of taking this course while in high school are cheaper costs and now she won’t have to take it over the summer before going off to college.

For senior Jaci Brungardt, she took the nurse aide class to help confirm if nursing studies was the career path she wished to pursue. The student also likes the fact that she will not have to take the class in the summer or during college.

“The class has been great,” she said. “I have gotten really close to my classmates and teacher.”

Bailey Florey, a junior, said she took the class because she wanted to get experience working in the medical field.

“I just need to pass the certification test for this course and then I can get a good job while I’m still in high school,” she said.

Julia Bernard, a junior, said she has always wanted to help others medically and this was a great way to get started.

“I love the hand on skills and knowledge it has taught me,” she said. “Every day is different and it makes me excited when the time comes to go to class – no joke, I love it.”

Paula Florey said one of the benefits of the course is the exposure not only to the health care field but to patient care.

Miranda Engeldinger, a junior, said she has enjoyed every moment spent learning how to better serve others.

“Being able to take this class through school has certainly many plusses because we receive credit for an amazing course that will set us on track for a future career,” Engeldinger said. “The class also provides immediate benefits in ways of employment after completion of the course.”

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