With a growing elderly population, the need for health care professionals has also grown. State Fair Community College is trying to meet that demand through a series of programs that are available both as online and on-site classes.
The Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) and Certified Medication Technician (CMT) classes are part of SFCC’s Health Care Specialist Nurse Aide program.
“There is a very huge need at this time for individuals who are certified in these areas,” SFCC Program Director Joyce Jennings said. “It takes a special person to do this type of work, but there are many rewards in these professions.”
A CNA works as a part of the health care team. They are responsible primarily for monitoring the conditions of a patient, then reporting the information they gather to the nurse on duty.
CMT’s often work in residential care and long-term care facilities. They are primarily responsible for administering oral medication to patients.
“We have been offering the program for several years and we have students who find both programs have benefits,” Jennings said.
The online classes tend to benefit students who may already be employed or who have responsibilities that prevent them from attending classes on a daily basis.
“A lot of our online students may have children at home,” Jennings said “The online option can sometimes eliminate the need for day care for the individual, which can be a big benefit if they have children.
“The online option tends to work really well for individuals who may already be facing a busy schedule,” she added. “It is really convenient for them.”
Thompson said the traditional campus classes also offer benefits for the students.
“There are still individuals who don’t have access to online services at their homes,” Jennings said. “Many of them may not feel comfortable using the technology and they like the structure going to class can offer.”
Both methods of course work require hands on clinical experience at various facilities within the district.
The Sylvia G. Thompson Residence Center, 3333 W. 10th St., offers the clinical program at their facility.
“We recently hired a number of spring graduates from SFCC to work for us,” Cassandra Brockman, human resources director at Sylvia Thompson, said. “It’s a very beneficial program for us because we can provide the hands-on opportunities the students need. We can monitor and see how the individuals work with our patients, which can help with some of our hiring decisions,” she added.
Several of the employees hired from SFCC are 18 and 19 years old, Brockman said, but their ages vary.
“We do have several younger graduates we hire and many of them have been with us for 10 or more years,” Brockman said. “A lot of our employees from the college have gone on to make this a career.
“We offer a lot of flexibility in our scheduling,” she added. “We have three different shifts our CNA’s and CMT’s work and that can help fit the demands of their lives.”
All individuals who complete the course work must pass a state licensing exam before they can be hired.
“Our students can take the test anywhere in the state,” Jennings said. “One of the nicest things about it is that they know the day they take the test if they have passed. It relieves a lot of the anxiety they may face in having to wait for results.”
“It really does take a special person who is passionate about helping others to do this type of work,” Brockman said. “It is a rewarding occupation for the right person.”
Classes begin Aug. 24 and space is still available for both online and campus classes.
Individuals seeking more information about the program may contact Jennings at 596-9275 or at [email protected]
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484