SANFORD - For some students at Central Carolina Community College, going on a field trip could change their lives. Ten adult learners at the community college took a week-long course at Central Carolina Hospital to discover possibilities of a career in a healthcare discipline.
CCCC and CCH partnered with Wake Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to help participants choose a career pathway. Angela Rivera, Director of Continuing Education at CCCC said, ”The ultimate program goal is that these students will discover a career path in a curriculum that is offered by our community college.”
Funded by the AHEC and taught by clinical leaders at the hospital, the 20-hour curriculum included medical career pathways in the hospital’s lab, pharmacy, physical therapy, medical records, nursing services (obstetrics, emergency, surgery, inpatient nursing), cardiovascular lab, radiology, registration, emergency medical services (EMS), and Spanish translation.
A basic job description, hands-on demonstrations, educational requirements, customary employer benefits such as tuition reimbursement and on-the-job training, and average salaries for different levels of positions in a variety of fields in the industry were covered in the class. Students completing the course earn CPR certification, certificates of completion from AHEC and CCCC, and continuing education units from the college.
The 10 students participating were James Mitchell, Sharain Rouse, Delia Villa Gomez, Teniqua Jackson, Taiquan Daniels, Bacilides Fuentes, Christy Godfrey, Patrick Dolan, Maria De La Luz Duran, and Mirian Viera.
Mitchell previously worked at a hospital in Virginia performing housekeeping duties. When asked how this program has opened up his possibilities, he said, “This program has made me think about a career in pharmacy or medical records.”
Rouse said, “I took this program because I wanted to be a teacher and I have children. Now, after meeting the nurse from the ER, I have all sorts of interest in healthcare.”
Other students expressed interest in medical record, physical therapy, and nursing with Spanish translation as a competitive advantage.
The state encourages community colleges to develop “pathways”, that is, programs which walk students through a path from the basic skills to continuing education courses so that, upon graduation, these adults will have a career with a livable wage.
“Programs like this are imperative in showing basic skills students what opportunities for careers are out there of which they would otherwise not be aware,” Rivera said. “We couldn’t do this type of program without support from the hospital and AHEC.”
Amy Thomas, Associate Director for Health Careers, is excited about the opportunity this presents for minorities.
“AHEC has never done a program like this for adults with a community college in a hospital setting,” she said. “We are very fortunate to partner with the college and Central Carolina Hospital and hope to do more programs of this nature in the future.”
The Health Careers division is grant-funded through Wake AHEC and works with minorities and disadvantaged students to foster an interest in a healthcare field. Thomas noted, “Our hope is that programs like these will increase the cultural diversity in the workplace.”