Those entering the health care field are trained to expect the worse.
That’s even more true in this age of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has caused a shortage of nurses, doctors and other health care workers and those already in the field are beginning to burn out.
So how have medical schools adjusted their curriculum to meet the staff shortages?
By changing the requirements.
The new program, approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing, is 40 hours of clinical work and combines an online portion of certified nursing assistant basic skills and two days of in-person skills.
“Our normal Nurse Aide is four weeks,” said Arleigh Hatcher, a registered nurse and owner of Heart To Heart CTC.
Nurse aides typically are required to complete 80 hours of clinical work but the new program has reduced the hours in half, she said.
Healthcare Staffing of America, is an agency that works with the training center.
Students who graduate from the Temporary Nursing Aide program can earn $20 an hour with the staffing agency.
“It’s an excellent opportunity,” Hatcher said, adding most nursing aides make $9 an hour. “It’s rare for a nurse aide to be able to earn so much.”
Hatcher is also reaching out to long term care facilities and hospitals to inform them about the new program.
And, like most nowadays, the online component is front and center.
“We have to switch everything to online because you know you have to do distance learning and it’s such a big risk for our students and our team members,” she said. “Even going forward, I don’t see us bringing classes the way we were before.”
The hybrid classes feature an online lecture and students meet in person for the skill portion, six people at a time.
Hatchet said to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, the Heart to Heart CTC has implemented social distancing measures where people stand six feet apart, requiring instructors and students to wear masks at all times and to wash their hands entering and leaving the classroom.
Despite the classroom changes, Hatchet said she has maintained all her staff and instructors and her students have grown accustomed to the new format.
The courses which meet in-person for skills have career training classes, including Medication Aide, Phlebotomy and Medical Assistant as well as other training requirements, Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
While those courses have not been shortened due to the coronavirus, there have been some adjustments.
For instance, for the BLS course, students must take the CPR portion online and when practicing on a manikin, maintain certain safety procedures by wearing a mask, gloves and using their own manikin.
While the students cannot blow into the manikin, a rule Hatcher said is from the American Heart Association, they can watch videos on the process.
“Before they even come to us, they have to do that part online,” she said. “The only thing they don’t do is put their mouth on the mask.”
Hatcher said she has noticed more health care professionals taking the training courses like ACLS.
When asked if she had any advice to offer nursing and other health care training graduates during the coronavirus, she said she has something different than advice to share.
“As opposed to advice, I have more admiration for them because it really takes a lot of bravery to enter the health care field during the pandemic,” Hatcher said. “There’s so many people in need, so many health care shortages and they have the opportunity to make a difference.”
The tuition for the Temporary Nurse Aide course ranges from $380 to $450 depending if CPR is included.
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