NLHS students become CNAs
College-level course offered through FVTC
By Scott Bellile
A new program at New London High school is giving teens a head start on future careers in nursing.
The Nursing Assistant Program is a one-semester course that gives juniors and seniors an opportunity to earn their certified nursing assistant (CNA) license while exploring careers in health care.
“It helps give me a glimpse of what professions are out there,” said student Jordyn Bucholtz, who took the course in the fall. “Most people just think it’s nurses and doctors, but there’s way more.”
The course started this fall at the high school through a partnership with Fox Valley Technical College. The first set of 12 students wrapped up the course Dec. 16, and 12 new students began Jan. 6.
The course syllabus from FVTC lays out 120 hours of instruction: 42 hours of classroom time, 27 hours of lab sessions at the FVTC Nursing Lab, 46 hours of clinical sessions at care facilities and five hours of before the state-mandated final exam.
“It’s very rigorous,” said student Tori Starcheske.
“It prepares them for college if they’re going into a medical or health care field,” said Jennifer Doran, a New London High School science teacher who supervises the course. “It’s kind of one extra step in that direction.”
CNAs work under licensed nurses in hospitals, nursing homes and residential facilities. They help patients with tasks such as eating, bathing and walking.
“Kids can get jobs, they can start making money and they can get that experience” while still in high school when they pass the course, Doran said.
The School District of New London pays $348 per student for tuition and student accident insurance. Each student may pay around $450 to $500 total for textbooks, uniform, a caregiver background check and other costs.
Students who pass earn three college credits and a half credit of high school credit in addition to CNA licensure.
Kally Dey, a student who took the course in the fall, said the class gave her a baseline that allowed her to appreciate what CNAs do.
That appreciation has helped shaped her vision of becoming a pediatric oncologist, a physician who helps children diagnosed with cancer. Dey said people dismiss her career goal as “morbid” and don’t understand her desire to help children.
“It’s not about watching them die,” she said. “It’s about making their last days better.”
Jennifer Ananda, the course instructor, said New London’s students proved to be enthusiastic caregivers toward the residents they helped.
It’s a change from their days growing up when their parents cared for them.
“The roles have changed—they are now using their skills and compassion for a different generation, maturing and becoming responsible young adults,” Ananda said.