Health Career students celebrate success

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BRATTLEBORO — As the school year ends, Health Career students at the Windham Regional Career Center (WRCC) have reason to celebrate.

All eight students taking the Vermont Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) exam had passed successfully, earning them their state license and the opportunity to pursue work as nursing assistants right away.

The students were members of the WRCC's inaugural Licensed Nursing Assistant course. Their class time included 90 hours of instruction in their WRCC classroom, 48 hours in the adjoining lab, 40 hours of training at clinical sites, and 32 hours of exam preparation.

Their instructor, Kathy Forrister, said she was pleased with her students' results: "I'm extremely proud of them and really couldn't have had a better first group of students. For me, the best feeling is seeing them succeed despite self-doubt and to witness their growth and maturity throughout the semester."

The eight students (and new LNAs) are Amanda Frankiewicz, Lexi Miner, Olivia Rhodes, Mya McAuliffe and Ethan Williams from Brattleboro; Celia Betit from Whitingham; Kelsey Kissell from Vernon; and Pooja Meyer from Guilford. Five of these students will be applying for LNA positions in the area, while three will be enrolling in college nursing programs.

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In addition to the LNA course, Forrister teaches Human Growth & Development and Medical Terminology for the WRCC, both of which offer dual college credits. She was also largely responsible for the LNA's successful launch this year, having attained Vermont Board of Nursing approval for the course to be offered.

The LNA curriculum covers topics such as body mechanics, infection control, catheter care, transfers, vital signs and measurements, communication, oral care, mobility/ambulation, personal care, and safety, all important skills for her students to acquire.

The Health Careers program, of which LNA is a component, prepares students for healthcare related work in a variety of fields, including ones that require additional education, such as registered nursing. These careers are in high demand and tend to pay well, both locally and state-wide. With that in mind, the WRCC has partnered with Vermont Technical College, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and other facilities to promote opportunities for students to explore and experience the many career pathways and college majors available to them. These community relationships enable students to learn first-hand about career pathways within their own community. Clinical training was provided by Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Thomas House, and Vernon Green, with students rotating locations to gain experience and skills at both long-term and acute care facilities. Additionally, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital donated equipment to help build the WRCC lab space.

Lyle Holiday, superintendent of the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union, said she appreciates the range of opportunities the Health Careers program provides: "The addition of a nursing component greatly increases options for our students. Some will continue on to higher education and some will be career ready and looking to join the workforce."

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Thompson House, and Vernon Green have all extended invitations to the eight LNAs to apply for employment at their respective facilities.

The Windham Regional Career Center serves students from Brattleboro Union High School, Bellows Falls Union High School, Hinsdale High School, LeLand & Gray Union High School, and Twin Valley Middle/High School. Program offerings include auto technology, business, construction/architecture, culinary arts, electronics/electricity, engineering and advanced manufacturing, filmmaking and digital editing, forestry/natural resources, health careers, introductory and pre-tech exploratory courses, performing arts, and protective services.


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