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Health occupations classes offered at Greene County Medical Center since 1999 have a direct economic impact for Greene County. Over 125 students have taken one or both of the health occupations classes. Eighteen of those students are currently employed at the medical center. Records show that another 48 students are currently completing or have completed education in the medical field.
The medical center has been offering health occupations classes to high school juniors and seniors since 1999. The classes, Medical Terminology and Nurse Aide, fulfill credits for Greene County High School, Paton-Churdan High School and Iowa Central Community College (ICCC).
“The medical center was approached by what was then the Jefferson-Scranton school district 13 years ago and asked to partner with them and ICCC in starting a health occupations track of classes,” said Cindy Kail, chief nursing officer and public health director at Greene County Medical Center. “The program is supported by all three partners – Greene County Schools, Greene County Medical Center and ICCC.”
Medical Terminology focuses on teaching students terminology of the human body system. The class emphasizes recognition and use of functional vocabulary related to medical science, including definitions, standard abbreviations, pronunciation and correct spelling. Open to juniors and seniors, Medical Terminology is one trimester long and meets at the high school. Students who successfully complete the class receive one high school credit and two college credits, fulfilling the Iowa Central Medical Terminology requirements.
Students receive both classroom time and clinical experience in the Nurse Aide class. Nurse Aide provides students with a basic level of knowledge and skills to provide safe and effective patient care. This class is also open to juniors and seniors and it meets at the medical center. It is two trimesters long, with one trimester for the classroom portion and another trimester for the clinical portion.
“We spend one trimester teaching the students topics like confidentiality, health care law, as well as clinical skills,” said Kail. “Another trimester is spent with the students up in Long Term Care applying the skills they have learned and getting feedback on their performance.” Laine Custer, R.N., B.S.N. and health occupations coordinator at the medical center, adds, “The clinical portion also includes some days of job shadowing in other departments of the hospital.”
Students register for the health occupations classes when they register for their other high school courses. Instructors assist the students in filling out the additional paperwork needed to enroll with ICCC. Instructors then report grades to both Iowa Central and the high school, since students receive class credit from both.
“Most students enjoy the classes whether they are taught at the high school or at the medical center,” said Ruth Broman, counselor at Greene County High School. “Any student who has a medical interest is encouraged to register for the classes. This also includes students interested in emergency services.”
Custer and Kail have been teaching and overseeing the health occupations classes since the very beginning, and both are certified as teachers. Other medical center staff members assist in specific areas of expertise. Class size has varied from year to year, but has averaged to about 10 students per class. The Medical Terminology class this fall had 15 students, and there are nine currently enrolled in Nurse Aide.