By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN - Twelve students participated in a pinning ceremony Wednesday for the first certified nursing Assistant program to be offered at Dassel-Cokato High School.
This spring was the first trimester the course was offered, with two local instructors from Ridgewater teaching the course Ava Flachmeyer of Dassel and Darlene Lind of Cokato.
The idea of bringing the program into the high school was born during a Dassel Chamber meeting.
Dassel Lakeside Administrator Bill Ward spoke with DC High School Principal Dean Jennissen of the possibility of offering the course in school.
The course is actually through the post secondary option, in agreement with Ridgewater College.
With the use of equipment and beds from both the Lakeside Healthcare Center and Cokato Manor, the course was able to be offered right at school during regular school hours, according to Jennissen.
The three-credit course gives students the education and skills needed to become a certified nursing assistant and work within a nursing home environment.
The course involves lecture and lab time and a demonstration of skills.
There are a total of 100 skills taught.
“There is a lot involved in this course it’s really a crash course on life,” said Lind.
Students learn skills involved in infection control, communication, personal relationships, as well as the more hands-on skills such as respiration, giving baths, taking blood pressure, and much more.
Not only was this the first certified nursing assistant course taught at Dassel-Cokato, but DC was the first high school Ridgewater has taught the course at where the class is part of the regular curriculum, according to Lind.
“We’re paving the way in DC,” she said, adding that the course worked well.
The 12 students who received pins Wednesday took their clinical exams Thursday and will go on to take their state board exams.
Senior Cassidy McDonough took the course and hopes to work as a nursing assistant throughout the summer and her college career.
She enjoyed the experience and was glad it was offered during school.
Janna Larson, also a senior, plans to continue working at Cokato Manor, where she has been an activity aid assistant.
Now, with the skills she has received from the course, Larson hopes to be a nursing assistant and later take the home health aid course through Ridgewater, allowing her to work in hospice care.
The course will continue next year, most likely in the spring trimester, according to Jennissen.