Patient Care Tech Program

New MNPS Patient Care Tech Program
Pearl-Cohn, Maplewood Students Piloting Patient Care Technician Program
Posted on 04/23/2021
Student practicing patient care on a dummy
A group of MNPS high school seniors is helping launch a new training program that can lead directly to jobs with local healthcare providers – and several of them have already landed positions with a leading hospital company that they’ll start as soon as they graduate.

Twelve students from Pearl-Cohn and three from Maplewood make up the inaugural class of the new patient care technician career pipeline program, a partnership between MNPS, Nashville State Community College, and HCA Healthcare Foundation/TriStar Health. The HCA Healthcare Foundation, through the Nashville State Community College Foundation, and federal CARES Act funding are covering the cost of the training. Patient Care Tech student group photo

The program is another example of MNPS’s efforts to ensure that every student is known by educators and moves steadily along a path to success.

“The patient care technician program creates a new career pathway for our students into an essential and growing industry,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools. “We always want to see our graduates moving into good jobs that make a difference in our community and fulfill a need in Nashville’s workforce, and this program does just that. Thank you to our dedicated teams of educators at Pearl-Cohn and Maplewood and to Nashville State Community College, TriStar Health, and our other partners for all the work they’ve done to make this opportunity possible.”

Leaders of the participating organizations expect to open up more patient care technician certification opportunities in June, July, September, and October for area residents ages 18 and older. Those leaders joined current students and their families, as well as representatives of Mayor John Cooper’s office and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, for a launch event Thursday at Nashville State Community College.

Patient care technicians work directly with patients and nurses and typically assist with managing food and liquid intake, monitoring vital signs, drawing blood, serving meals, and administering IVs, to name a few of their responsibilities. Being a technician can also serve as a steppingstone to becoming a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.

The Pearl-Cohn and Maplewood students started attending classes for four hours each night – after a full day of high school – in a state-of-the-art simulation lab at Nashville State on April 12. After completing two weeks of classes, they will be assigned to a healthcare facility for one week of clinicals, which provide hands-on learning experiences in a supervised and structured format.

Dr. Cynthia Waller, dean of healthcare professions at Nashville State, said the students wowed her with their work ethic and eagerness to learn. If instructors didn’t teach material the students were expecting one night, they asked Waller to make sure it was covered.

Jennifer Bell, the new director of MNPS’s Academies of Nashville, which help students in the district’s 12 zoned high schools explore careers through partnerships with area businesses, said the patient care technician program is a great addition. Several students have already received job offers from TriStar Health.

“Ultimately, we want to create a pathway that allows you all to chase your dreams,” Bell told the Pearl-Cohn and Maplewood students at the event. “So many of you are going to walk out of Metro Nashville Public Schools on the last day with a diploma, but also job opportunities. That's something really special.”

Pearl-Cohn Principal Miriam Harrington and academy coach Brittany Edmondson, who played key roles in conceiving the program, and three students also spoke at the event. Akeyla Allen, a senior at Pearl-Cohn, said she’s learned a great deal in two weeks and will go to work at TriStar Health’s Skyline Medical Center after graduation.

“I always wanted to be somewhere in the medical field. I just didn’t know where to start,” Allen said. “This opportunity has shown me the best path to advance as a maternity ultrasound technician.”

Maplewood senior Noah Hurt, who also has been offered a job at Skyline, said he was “speechless” about the impact this opportunity has already had on his life, though his effusive remarks proved that wasn’t true.

“I can’t continually talk about how good this program is,” Hurt said, “but I can’t not talk about it.”
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