Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2007

Learning patients

Health careers students gain medical experience in class

May 3, 2007

While most students will be leaving high school with a diploma and four years worth of memories, health career students will be off with something extra.

That's because during a two-year program at the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center, students have the opportunity to earn certification as both a certified nursing assistant and a medication aid certification.

In addition to the certifications, students in instructor Angie Friesen's classes leave high school with one more intangible ---- real world experience.

"It's like they get hands-on experience, but they also learn what it's like having a job," Friesen said.

Even before her students don scrubs to shadow local medical workers, Friesen and teaching assistant Andrea Pyle verse the students in anatomy, first aid and medical terminology at the Eudora Community Learning Center.

The first-year program gives students the basic knowledge they need to earn their degrees as a certified nursing assistant.

The following year, students take on college-level material to get certification needed in dispensing medications.

"A lot of them now are working as CNA's in their after hours," Friesen said.

The students learn in two separate areas. Hospital beds and supplies line one half of the learning area.

In a separate room nearby, students sit at desks facing a whiteboard. The students also have access to a small computer lab in one corner of the classroom.

The classroom Monday was filled with students sporadically leaving for their clinical studies.

The classroom Monday was filled with students sporadically leaving for their clinical studies.

On the hospital side, second-year students Courtney Kurtz and Melissa Grammer practiced using sponges to apply medicine to the mouth of a mannequin.

"(The classes) help you find out if you really want to be in medicine," Grammer said.

Mixed in with practice in the classroom and at work, students had the opportunity to spend daylong field trips at local health centers.

Throughout the year students received first-aid certification with the Lenexa Firefighters, spent a full day at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Dentistry and a full day at the University of Kansas School of Athletic Training.

The students shadowed in places as diverse as the Eudora Animal Hospital and PromptCare in Lawrence to spending time with school nurses.

Senior Kayla Humbert, a first-year student, remembered her first clinical.

"That was really fun," Humbert said. "It was really eye-opening to all of us."

As she went through the course, Humbert was surprised at the strength it takes to be a nurse, she said.

The strength includes the physical ability to be able to lift a patient but also knowing how to deal with people, Humbert said.

"You have to be very patient," Humbert said. "We learn to be very patient."

The course has taught her well overall, she said.

"It was hard work, but it was a lot of good information that none of us knew before," Humbert said.

The experience taught her something else about the medical field, with certification in May, she would be able to join.

"I think we all have a new respect for nurses and doctors and all the stuff they have to do," she said. "It takes a strong person to do that."

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