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Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014

News

Program Guiding Disadvantaged Young People Toward Health Care Jobs Graduates First Class

Monday, October 17th, 2011

An unusual training partnership intended to open an avenue to good-paying, in-demand health care jobs for minority and disadvantaged Pittsburgh area high school students will graduate its first students on Wednesday, October 19.
Graduates of the Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program for High School Students at the Simulation Teaching and Academic Research (STAR) Center at West Penn Allegheny Health System have qualified for the state licensing exam. They’ll celebrate their accomplishments in a ceremony Wednesday at the West Penn Hospital School of Nursing, 4900 Friendship Ave., Pittsburgh.
The program was made possible by a grant from Laurel Foundation and the cooperation of Pittsburgh Public Schools and Highland Park Care Center, a skilled nursing facility in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park. The four graduates are all graduates of the Pittsburgh Public Schools and of the Healthcare Training Academy at STAR.
“As part of our mission to serve the community, we at STAR wanted to work toward alleviating the shortage of allied health professionals in our region while also showing high school students a path to a career in health care,” said Dona Marie Wilfong, RN, DNP, Director of Clinical Education at STAR. “With the generous help of Laurel Foundation and the participation of Pittsburgh Public Schools and Highland Park Care Center, we are realizing this goal.”
Instructor Edith Smith-Ridley said the course was rigorous, requiring students to acquire clinical skills as well as workplace skills. Once they are certified they will find a wide range of job openings available.
“We plan to follow and mentor them even after they begin working. We want this to be the first, not the last stop on their career ladder,” Ms. Smith-Ridley said.
Ms. Smith-Ridley’s son, Pastor Mike Smith of Destiny International Ministries, will deliver an inspirational speech at the graduation ceremony.
Marianne Pisano of Highland Park Care Center said the center served as a clinical training site for the students as part of its commitment to serve the surrounding community.
“The students did a wonderful job and it’s great to see these young people so excited about starting their careers in health care,” Ms. Pisano said.
At STAR, the students trained with the same tools used by nursing and medical students at West Penn Allegheny Health System. STAR personnel developed the CNA curriculum, which contains 125 course hours, including 83 classroom hours, 37 hours in the clinical setting and 5 hours for study skills and additional simulation lab time.
STAR is a virtual hospital providing students and allied health practitioners opportunities to perfect their skills in a state-of-the-art center what replicates actual clinical environments. Computerized robotic mannequins mimic the physiology of humans (blood pressure, heart rate, breath sounds, etc.) and can be programmed to display symptoms of a wide range of health conditions.
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