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VC opens health career opportunities with Nurse Aide Program in Bloomington

April 14, 2014 at 4:02 p.m.
Updated April 13, 2014 at 11:14 p.m.


When 11 Bloomington High School seniors signed up for a nurse aide course, they quickly realized this was not just another class, but rather, a pathway to a solid health career.

The students are part of the Nurse Aide Program taught at the Bloomington school in partnership with Victoria College. Similar programs are also offered at Edna, Gonzales and Yoakum high schools.

The program started Jan. 27, and Bloomington High School counselor Whitney Russell said the 11 students are "very excited to be a part of it."

"At first, they didn't want to wear their uniforms around school, but now, they're very proud to have them on," Russell said. "I see them wearing their uniforms all day."

The class is taught by Marilyn Powell, VC allied health coordinator and instructor. Powell introduced the students to healthcare systems and taught them hygiene, basic anatomy and physiology, body systems, how to measure vital signs, and care of the client at home and care of clients with special needs.

Upon successful completion of the training, the students will be eligible to take the Texas Nurse Aide Registry Exam.

With only weeks to go before their April 22 Nurse Aide Program graduation, the students meet for classroom instruction three days a week and then perform clinicals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They are bussed to Twin Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Victoria where they put into practice what they learned in the classroom. Students Jason Valenzuela and Katie Williams are already working part-time at Twin Pines, Powell said.

"Some of the students have talked about being with the people at the clinicals at the nursing home," Russell said. "That's their favorite part: interacting with them, getting to know them and helping them. They're like their grandparents. They are very excited to do that."

One of those students is Jansje Licerio, who said the class has helped her in many ways.

"I learned how to interact with people in different situations," Licerio said. "It's fun and different. You learn different stories about everybody and why they are there."

She plans to attend Victoria College for vocational nursing training and is considering the possibility of becoming a registered nurse or physical therapist assistant.

Valenzuela said the course taught him to communicate effectively, work with people in various healthcare situations and study the lessons he was taught.

"Study skills are crucial to this class," Valenzuela said. "You also have to want to help people."

Valenzuela plans on taking some nursing courses at VC then transferring to UHV.

Bloomington school officials are planning to offer the program in both semesters next year, Russell said.

"It's an amazing opportunity for all of our kids," said Bloomington High School Principal James Pieper. "The students are very excited about the program and the immediate job opportunities."

"The other kids have been a bit envious of the way they look and realize they are working toward something," he added. "This will inspire some of the others to pursue that field and become involved in the program."

The principal expressed gratitude to VC and Marilyn Powell for getting the program started in Bloomington.

It's a great partnership with Victoria College, and we'd like to pursue other opportunities like this one," Pieper added.

Russell also credits VC for its support in bringing the program to Bloomington.

"Without VC, some of these kids wouldn't have anywhere to go after high school," Russell explained. "Now, we have a bunch of kids who finish school and go straight into the workforce, and this gives them a great opportunity to do that. Having a college that works hand-in-hand with high schools is very nice. It doesn't happen everywhere."

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