Ivy Tech Prepares Students For In-Demand Practical Nursing Jobs

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KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) – Leslie Neftzger has a degree in hospitality and operates a bed and breakfast in Logansport.

But for eight weeks this fall, Neftzger was at Ivy Tech Kokomo learning how to become a Certified Practical Nurse (CNA).

It’s a high demand job, and Neftzger and his classmates had offers before taking their state certification exams.

But she won’t be working in any of the facilities that would be happy to have her. Instead, Neftzger will provide home care for his parents.

“That’s why I’m doing it, so my parents don’t have to go,” she said.

A certified nursing assistant is a patient’s advocate. An ANC interacts with patients on a daily basis. They convey important information to nurses and doctors.

“The lifeline of a residence,” Neftzger said.

But there’s a lot more to being a CNA, and Ivy Tech’s course teaches students the 72 skills needed for the job. Skills include preparing bedding, bathing patients, oral care, and crisis management.

Faith Weesner, CNA’s new program director at Ivy Tech Kokomo, said an important part of the course is learning to treat patients with empathy. Learning human touch and bedside manner is just as important as removing a tub properly.

Seventy-two sounds like a lot – and it is, especially in a quick eight week course. Even more difficult, each skill is divided into a series of steps. CNA students should learn the order of these steps and their purpose.

The Bed and Bath skill has 35 steps.

“They not only learn how to take care of themselves, they also learn how to do it safely,” Weesner said.

Golda Fox uses a lot of note cards and highlighters to keep everything straight. Ivy Tech’s new facilities and labs are also helpful. Simulation beds and mannequins provide the hands-on experience needed to click courses.

CNAs also record a number of hours worked in real patient environments, such as nursing homes. Fox followed a hospice nurse before her certification exam.

“Being able to do it on a person makes more sense,” she said.

Neftzger said that while there is a lot to learn, much of the material is common sense, which makes learning a little less intimidating.

The state exam has two parts: a written exam, immediately followed by a skills test. The skills part tests students on one of the 72 skills.

A CNA certificate almost serves as a job guarantee – demand is high for these healthcare workers – but it can also be a stepping stone.

Kaidence Rouse, 17, plans to use her CNA certificate to enter the workforce and work to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Rouse said she had received several offers.

Weesner said the facilities offer tantalizing login bonuses, given their need for DACs. Nursing homes can use state workforce ready grants to reimburse students for the cost of the course, another way to attract future CNAs.

“People are calling, ‘Hey, I got a bonus for that, and I need NACs,'” Weesner said.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that CNA employment will increase by 8% by 2030, due to the need to replace workers transferring to another occupation or leaving the workforce, such as for retirement. .

The CNA certification is part of the Ivy Tech Healthcare Specialist program. This program offers a variety of certification options, including dementia care, phlebotomy, and pharmacy technician, aimed at addressing the shortage of healthcare professionals.

A 16-week Qualified Medication Aide (QMA) certification course will be offered in fall 2022. Completion of the QMA, CNA and Dementia Care courses, as well as Behavioral Health, will give students a certificate. from Long-Term Care Specialist, which turns into an Associate Health Care Specialist Diploma.

Nursing students can take the CNA course and earn credits for their own program.

The Dementia Care course is open to all students – no prerequisites are required. The course is beneficial for anyone who works with dementia patients, has a family member with symptoms, or simply wants to understand dementia better, Weesner said.

She added that Ivy Tech plans to offer specialist healthcare courses at the Logansport and Peru locations.

“We want to see what the community needs and what we have to offer them,” she said.

The CNA class for January is already full, but registrations are open for the CNA and Dementia classes starting March 23.

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