The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program has been called the gateway to the caring professions. At TMCC, the CNA program is a occupational preparatory program and serves as a prerequisite to the Nursing and to the Radiology Technology programs offering students an introduction to patient care and the medical field.
Christine Bier, who just completed the CNA class, said that the program teaches both technical and “soft” skills. “The program is really hands-on,” she said. “Being a CNA really puts you in somebody’s personal space. You have to learn how to help people at their lowest moment, and you have to earn their trust.”
The program’s new home, in the Meadowood Center, offers a colorful, updated and generous space for students to learn and practice their skills in the nursing profession, centrally located and near to public transportation.
The program’s relocation and recent renovations were made possible by a new grant of more than $1.6 million by the William N. Pennington Foundation to expand the Certified Nursing Program and Dental programs and facilities. “We’re so grateful to the Pennington Foundation for making the Dental and Health Care Expansion Project a reality,” said TMCC Foundation Executive Director Gretchen Sawyer. “This generous grant makes such a big impact on the college and community.”
With this new grant, the CNA Program has been relocated to a beautiful new space to Meadowood Center on the first floor in the North Building. This is a larger, state-of-the art space, which offers students a dedicated classroom that is independent of the lab, optimizing opportunities for learning and perfecting their clinical skills.
In the lab, the ten workstations—hospital beds and chairs—are spaced far enough apart so that groups of three students (one who acts as the patient, the second as the CNA student and a third who makes sure that proper procedure is followed) can work collaboratively with other students in the lab to build their team working skills so necessary for the healthcare professions.
“The students are excited to be here,” said Program Coordinator and Professor Susan Bluhm. “They are hard workers who are focused on perfecting their clinical skills. This course helps prepare them to sit for the State Exam, which will enable them to pursue a career in the health field.”
The CNA program is fast-paced and demanding, as Emma Chew who was voted “Best All Around CNA Student” by her peers, discovered. “You have to get used to tough situations,” she said, remembering her first experience at Renown when she encountered not one, but two Code Blue situations. Bluhm’s insistence on professionalism and precision prepared Chew for the challenges that can, in the medical field, save a patient’s life.
The new facility is enabling students and staff to embrace a profession which will offer them opportunities for a successful career, while answering their desire to help those in need. For information about the CNA program, call 775-824-8640.