Program Title – Allied Health Careers
Goals/Objectives: To prepare well trained students for an entry level position as a nurse/health assistant.
Brief Description of Program The Allied Health program is offered at Wallenpaupack Area High School, which is a comprehensive high school. Therefore the students are taking their academic and CTE courses at the same location. This provides an excellent opportunity for the CTE and academic instructors to consult on issues related to student progress. The program serves students in grades 10-12. The program attracts male and female students, although female students tend to be majority. Within the three Allied Health program levels there are a total of 54 seats (level I = 24, level II/III combined = total of 30). There are two sections of an introductory/prerequisite class (Introduction to Medical Occupations) offered to ninth grade students who may explore possible interest in health care careers (total 48 seats). In order to provide adequate clinical supervision, the instructor (R.N.), is accompanied by an assistant instructor (also an R.N.). The average student to RN instructor ratio is 10:1, in the clinical setting.
The Allied Health program provides students with the training required to perform entry-level duties as a nurse assistant, health care assistant, and patient care assistant. The program focuses on core standards. The core standards include ethical/legal responsibilities, effective communication, infection control, basic safety/emergency care, body mechanics, and assisting with patient mobility. Additional core standards include maintaining the patient/resident’s environment, basic human needs, measuring vital signs, hygiene/grooming, elimination, and body systems. Caring for patients with cognitive impairment/mental illness, rehabilitation/restorative care and death/dying are also identified as core elements of the Allied Health program. These standards are addressed through activities and competencies that are hands-on/performance based. Students are prepared to earn the following credentials/certifications: certified nursing assistant, licensed nursing assistant, patient care technician. This program can best be replicated by establishing a dynamic comprehensive curriculum, developing mutually beneficial partnerships within the local healthcare community, and creating articulations with post-secondary training institutions and organizations. The key to any successful program is a qualified experienced and enthusiastic instructor who maintains appropriate certifications and keeps current with industry expectations and practices. The instructor must develop high expectations for the program and the students.
Students are exposed to theory, demonstration, guided application, individual assessments and performance skill checks. Students will be expected to perform skills, according to professional standards. In the clinical/community setting they are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner. A professional dress code is in place and in accordance with industry expectations. With regard to the dress code, scrubs are provided, hair is worn off the collar and face; professional limitations are placed on make-up and jewelry. Skills and theory taught in the classroom meet practical application within the local health care community. Successful partnerships in the healthcare community are an essential component of the Allied Health program.
The Allied Health program has evolved into a comprehensive three-year program. Competencies aligned to the industry standards have been identified and are taught as the core standards of the program. After satisfactory performance of competencies in the laboratory setting, the student will have the opportunity for practical application of the curriculum in the clinical/community setting. The laboratory experience involves the practice and guided learning experiences focusing on procedural techniques and use of a variety of industry-related equipment. The student clinical component includes “real world” work experiences in both acute and long-term care settings. Allied health students also provide services within the school and community; examples include assisting the Red Cross personnel with the semi-annual blood drives, and staffing first aid stations at the school’s annual triathlon. The students are also involved in the community through organizing and presenting health fairs and through healthy living presentations at a local senior citizen housing complex. Much of the success of the Allied Health program can be attributed to successful partnerships with the local health care community, an enthusiastic instructor and the hands-on curriculum. The students have the opportunity to integrate the curriculum into real life situations that often include a significant emotional impact with respect to the student. This emotional investment serves to mold compassionate health care professionals.
Results of Activity: The Allied Health students have enjoyed considerable success over the years in Skills USA (VICA) competition. As a result of the theoretical and clinical experiences in the Allied Health program, students entering any post-secondary health occupations educational program will enjoy a significant advantage over their less experienced peers. Upon completion of the Allied Health program, the student is well prepared for an entry level position as a nurse/health assistant. Allied Health program completers are pursuing successful careers in a variety of health care professions where the need is great.
Evaluation Tools & Procedures Wallenpaupack Allied Health students have been involved in SkillsUSA VICA competitions. Areas of competition include First aid-CPR, Nurse assisting and the Health Knowledge Bowl competition. Our students placed first in their respective Pennsylvania state competitions (Nurse Assisting and Health Knowledge Bowl) in two consecutive years, then went on to place eighth and fourth in the national competition.
Resources and Other Related Information (websites, pictures and attachments)
The Allied Health program has had a recent curriculum revision; the curriculum integrates industry standards, Pennsylvania state standards, and employability skills. The curriculum is regularly reviewed to assure that it is consistent with current industry practices and standards. The students have the opportunity to learn in a well equipped laboratory setting. The lab equipment includes electric hospital beds, hemodynamic monitoring equipment, blood glucose monitors, a variety of assistive devices, computers, and a SmartBoard. Texts are updated regularly and professional journals and healthcare current events are integrated into the program.
Karen Beilman R.N., B.S.N.
Allied Health Instructor
Wallenpaupack Area High School
6225 Rte 6
Hawley, PA 18428
570-226-4557 X 5260