Downtown Campus Now a Certified CNA Testing Site
By Chris Cunningham
It's a routine: At the beginning of each class, students in Lane Community College's certified nursing assistant training take each other's vital signs, and record temperatures, pulses (or heart rates) and respiratory rates.
The students, like 40-year-old Jonathan Kreusch, also participate on patient care teams in local long-term care facilities, helping patients—most of whom are frail and elderly—with their toileting, bathing, dressing and walking.
"You're mostly caring for people's basic needs," says Kreusch, who completed the program in December 2013 and now is interviewing for employment in this field.
He says even though course instructors Marge Dillon and Kathy Miller-Hoyt, both registered nurses, encouraged frank discussions about the nature of CNA work, his first day at Avamere Rehabilitation of Junction City took him into "uncharted territory," such as providing "perineal care on my first day."
Kreusch admits that participating in LCC's certified nursing assistant training, which is approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing, "was a vast departure from what I had been used to."
Largely because of his previous work owning a construction business and working as a freight broker in the trucking industry, he had confidence in his ability to establish relationships with patients.
Kreusch says he chose the program, because he "was looking for employment that would stand the test of time, and everyone will always need some kind of healthcare."
The program provides 150 hours of study: 75 hours are in academic curriculum and 75 hours are in a clinical lab at one of several local long-term care facilities.
By the time students in Dillon and Miller-Hoyt's class finish the course, they are ready to take the CNA I certification exam. The 10 to 20 students who enroll each term have a 100 percent passing rate on the written classroom exam, Dillon says.
For the past year, Lane's Downtown Campus has served as a statewide testing site for the written portion of the Oregon Nursing Assistant Competency Exam. Headmaster Testing Services LLP, a professional testing company, administers the exam for the state of Oregon.
Students take the second half of the exam in the same long-term care facility where they completed their clinical practicum, because "they are familiar with the equipment and beds," Dillon says.
All CNA students are tested on handwashing proficiency, and four other clinical competencies that are chosen at random out of 29 core skills. Patient ambulation, vital signs, body mechanics, range of motion, and personal hygiene are all possible hands-on test items.
Kreusch says the training was time well spent. "You are the mediator between these (patients) having a quality life and not having a quality life."
Lane's CNA classes meet four hours, three times a week, for 10 weeks. Students can enroll fall, winter, spring and summer terms. The program cost is $858.00. See the Nursing Assistant page for more information.