New Enhanced Nurse Aide/Direct Support Worker program to be offered

Hazard Community and Technical College will be offering a new Enhanced Nurse Aide/Direct Support Worker program thanks to a $750,000 grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration in Washington, D.C. The grant, Affordable Care Act, Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide Program, is a major addition to HCTC s allied health program offerings.

HCTC is one of only ten awardees and one of two community colleges in the nation to receive funding.

The 16-week dual certificate program will prepare students to work in clinical and home health settings and to meet the current and future demands for nurse aides. The program will begin in early 2011. The grant includes 20 scholarships annually for students with financial need.

Expanding opportunities in education is vital for our communities and will help to move our region forward, said Congressman Hal Rogers. I applaud Hazard Community and Technical College for their commitment to helping students advance and making health care a priority. Training the next generation of health care professionals right here in southern and eastern Kentucky will go a long way towards filling the current nursing shortages we face.

Research shows that HCTC s region will continue to demand nurse aides/direct support workers because of a significant aging population.

Community contacts who hire Nurse Aides currently completing HCTC s program stated that while the Nurse Aide program graduate has the technical skills required they are looking for employees to hire who have soft skills such as good interpersonal communication, interagency referral skills, and employment skills, in addition to excellent nurse aide training. The classes will be taught at the Technical Campus under the coordination of nursing faculty member Pat Walters.

Dr. Kris Williams, HCTC president/CEO, said, We are very excited about being able to offer this new program for the health care industry, especially since health care is so vitally important. The local newspapers continually advertise health care providers who are soliciting employment applications for Nurse Aides.

HCTC Grant Writer Melissa Vermillion noted, HCTC realizes that Healthcare Reform will impact our community s healthcare industry as well as the patients it serves, and the pursuit of this grant was an obvious way to address some of the many changes that are expected.

The Nurse Aide/Direct Support Worker program will consist of Human Services and Social Work classes in conjunction with the Nurse Aide class. HCTC will limit the Nurse Aide/Direct Support Worker certificate program to cohorts of 15 per semester, complying with Kentucky state requirements.

Other components of the program include the development of a student/alumni support group which will provide community service activities and workshops on personal presentations, simple computer skills and other topics as desired by students and alumni in the workplace. The program will include weekly professional development workshops and quarterly newsletters on current trends of nurse aides. HCTC will also develop an advisory council to provide guidance on the development, implementation, and effectiveness of the proposed new certificate program.

HCTC will continue to offer its current Nurse Aide course with the enhanced Nurse Aide program to compare data and accommodate students who need the Nurse Aide Course for admission into the Practical Nursing Diploma or Associate Degree Nursing programs. Students who choose the Nurse Aide/Direct Support Worker certificate seek careers as Nurse Aides in a long term care facility, adult day centers or home health care. With anticipated healthcare reform, it is expected that the enhanced NA will be in greater demand in acute care facilities as well as physician offices and primary care clinics as healthcare providers discover they can reduce their personnel costs by hiring better skilled NAs. If students decide to seek career advancement in the future, they will have two options. With a certificate in both Nurse Aide and Human Services Direct Support, they can choose to pursue a Nursing or Human Service/Social Work associate degree and/or a baccalaureate degree.