St. Edmond students get on-the-job training through CNA class
Five St. Edmond High School students took advantage of a certified nursing assistant course this year to gain hands-on professional skills.
Graduated seniors Abby Landwehr, Chloe Lewison, Macey Mason and Devyn Scott, along with sophomore Lizzie Gailey, completed the dual-credit course which included 30 hours inside the classroom, 30 hours of clinical at the Marian Home in Fort Dodge and 15 hours of lab work.
All five completed the mandatory hours within the school semester, and have all since passed the state certification written and skills exams. Three of the five are already working jobs in the field.
“The CNA class taught me so much about caring for people, but not only in a physical way,” Gailey said. “People have a need to communicate and be listened to, and this class has taught me about how important that is to individuals.
“It also reinforced my desire to enter the medical field.”
Erin Rossmanith, a health science instructor at St. Edmond, and Tracy Trotter, the director of nursing at the Marian Home, helped guide the students through both in-class and on-the-job training.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to provide and teach this course for our students,” Rossmanith said. “The nurse aide course earned them each three college credits and prepared them for their future health care profession. The course is required for entrance into many nursing programs, including Iowa Central’s.
“The community greatly benefits from these programs providing motivated young people to work in the health care setting as they are pursuing their professional degree and license. I currently have 15 students with interest in the course for the 2019-2020 school year. We are currently working with the Marian Home and Iowa Central to be able to offer the course again.”
Both Trotter and Rossmanith were excited about the involvement from the students as the need for more CNAs continues to grow.
“We are also losing the baby boomer generation workers at an alarming rate through retirement and are not replacing them as fast as we lose them,” Trotter said. “Programs like the relationship between Iowa Central, St. Edmond and the Marian Home help provide the possibility of additional work force in the health care field.
“The skills the five students learned will definitely prepare them for their desire to enter into the health care field.”
Landwehr, who will attend Loras College in the fall, noted that through the program, she now has “job options that we can work while we are in college.
“In addition, CNA work allows you to make a difference in the lives of residents,” Landwehr said. “Just a genuine smile, greeting or conversation is enough to make the day for a resident. I’m thankful for our school, Mrs. Rossmanith and Mrs. Trotter for making it possible for giving us the opportunity to take this class.”
Under instruction from Trotter, the students worked morning, afternoon and evening shifts at the Marian Home, and also practiced their skills on one another.
“The students exceeded my expectations in their desire to learn not only from the clinical hours they are required to obtain, but also to learn from our residents here at the Marian Home,” Trotter said. “It is a win-win situation for all involved. The students are learning more about the field they are entering into, and both our residents and the students are forming intergenerational relationships that provide insight into another way of living.”
Rossmanith added, “It was a challenge to fulfill the request of the course for the students with their very busy schedules and to be done before the seniors graduated, but Iowa Central, the support from administration at St. Edmond and Eric Halverson and Tracy at the Marian Home were great.”
Mason and Scott are both planning on attending Iowa Central, while Lewison is headed to Minnesota West Community College in Worthington, Minnesota. Gailey is planning to purse a degree in nursing before advancing to a provider in the healthcare field.
Mason’s mother, Megan, is a home care nurse with Unity Point at Home.
“This class is beneficial because you can take it right at St. Edmond, and it is a pre-requisite for the nursing program, so it is done and out of the way,” Mason said.