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District program provides hands-on experience for students interested in nursing

Hands-on experience is essential for anyone trying to explore a new career. Students working on a high school diploma often have to wait until after graduation to find opportunities that can get them up-close-and-personal with their chosen career path. 

Students at Clover Park High School who are interested in a career in nursing can start receiving hands-on training as early as their junior year. The Nursing Assistant Certification (NA-C) program, offered as part of a partnership with Clover Park Technical College, provides students with that hands-on experience to get started in a career in the medical field all while earning high school credit. 

“The NA-C program offers students a real opportunity to get their career started while still working toward their high school diploma,” said Diane Carver, Clover Park School District’s director of career and college readiness. “Some students already know what they want to do after graduating, so we offer these kinds of opportunities to give them a head start on the professional world.” 

Students enrolled in the course take the first steps toward earning their NA-C, which allows them to work as a basic care provider under the supervision of a professional licensed provider such as a registered nurse. A NA-C is an entry level path into the nursing profession. 

At the end of the course, students can apply to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam, which includes both a written and skills test. Passing the test allows students to apply for the certification and begin employment in a health care setting. 

 “In addition to the classroom work, students also spend 40 hours working in a long-term care facility,” said program instructor Sylvia Wells-Clark. “Going through that really gives students a look at the nitty-gritty of working in the nursing profession.” 

The program is broken into three parts: lecture and bookwork; hands-on training for the 22 skills required to pass the NNAAP exam; and clinical experience to apply their newly-gained skills and assist in taking care of patients.

Students who complete the course also earn five college credits for their efforts, which makes it enticing for any student who is interested in the medical field even if they have their sights set on higher education.

District students participating in the nursing program