Yvette Franklin, Thomas Nelson Community College's Nurse Aide Education Program coordinator, wants to make sure her students have a running start when in-person classes reopen, whenever that may be.
“We won’t wait until the gate opens (as far as reopening) to say, ‘OK, now we’ll get started.’ As soon as the gate opens, we’re going to rush through it,” she said.
She and her four instructors meet via Zoom every Saturday to discuss what needs to be done to prepare their 15 or so students, who are trying to complete a certificate from Workforce Development.
“We have a plan in place,” she said.
Franklin said her latest class has completed about 16 or 17 of the 22 skills the Virginia Board of Nursing deems mandatory. Some of those were accomplished online, including hand-washing personal protection equipment (PPE). The staff also was able to watch video of the students doing certain tasks. All Franklin and staff can do now is wait for word on when they can resume face-to-face instruction and start clinicals.
“We just finished (online instruction), and the students are on hold,” Franklin said in late May, adding the plan now is for the students to finish in the summer. “We’re hoping they can graduate before fall semester starts.”
She estimates students will need two weeks, at 12 hours of instruction each week, to finish the requirements. Then it’s on to clinicals.
Franklin said it’s possible the remaining instruction could be done in one week, but she would rather err on the safe side.
“We want to reiterate some of the skills we taught online. We have to give them all the skills they didn’t get, which is maybe four or five, and we always hold a mock certification exam,” she explained.
The mock exam, where the students are treated exactly as they will be treated when going for their certification, is key because it reduces some of the anxiety. The students know what to expect.
“That’s one of our secrets to our high pass rate,” Franklin said, noting the rate ranges from 88-100%. “We want to maintain that.”
Franklin also said some of Thomas Nelson’s requirements are stricter than those set by the Board of Nursing. For example, the College requires 160 hours in the program before the students can practice in the public. However, the Board of Nursing requires only 140.
“Our current Thomas Nelson Nurse Aide Education Program (NAEP) is one-of-a-kind,” Franklin said. “All for Workforce Development certification ensuring our NA graduates continue to become CNAs.”
Franklin’s program normally offers day and evening courses in Hampton, daytime classes at the Historic Triangle campus, and summer classes. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, please go to tncc.edu for the latest information.