Portage County Health Care Center hosts nine clinical CNA students – Stevens Point Journal | Team Cansler

STEVENS POINT — A revived partnership with Mid-State Technical College is providing a much-needed boost as the Portage County health center struggles with a staffing shortage that has led to the closure of a wing of the center and forced it to turn away patients.

Last month, the health center welcomed mid-state students who wanted to become certified nursing assistants and registered nurses. Mid-State’s 120-hour CNA program requires students to spend 30 hours working with patients and residents.

PCHCC director Marcia McDonald said in an email to Stevens Point Journal that there was a long-standing partnership between the health center and the college, but COVID-19 caused a three-year hiatus. Other clinical sites have been able to open in fall 2021, but due to the needs and patients of PCHCC, the opening has been postponed to 2022.

McDonald wrote that the center began accommodating the new class of nine CNA students on October 4. Five students studying to become registered nurses are also completing a clinical rotation at the center.

The students do not take on full tasks, but support the support staff.

“Our nursing assistant students are there to learn their skills, but they also don’t have the workload that a regular nursing assistant has, so they can give that special attention to the resident and work alongside the CNAs,” said Colleen Kane, dean for Health and Safety and Human Services in Mid-State. “Sometimes they can be those extra hands, depending on what the ability is.”

Nursing student Shauna Scholl from Nekoosa agrees.

“If all the nursing students come, they just have the extra time,” Scholl said. “You can sit and chat, brush your hair, paint your nails and just have those extra moments with you.”

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