With the emergence of a worldwide pandemic, the already vital need for healthcare workers has grown beyond the scope of what anyone could’ve expected. Melissa and Jason Harvey are working with Putnam County High School to teach the next generation of nurses and healthcare workers.
Melissa Harvey has been a registered nurse for 23 years and works in the industry and is a full-time instructor for Central Georgia Technical College. Jason Harvey is a medic for the Putnam County EMS and teaches for CGTC as well.
In the dual enrollment program, students are able to earn college credits while still in high school. The college gives them the opportunity to enter the Nurse Aide or Emergency Medical Responder program and potentially leave high school as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
The EMR course gives a foundation of becoming a First Responder for students who are interested in becoming EMTs or firefighters and students interested in more clinical settings are encouraged to explore the nurse aide program.
“It’s allowed students to see if they are interested in in the healthcare field,” explained Melissa Harvey. “We talk about careers in class that way everyone has a chance to get educated. With nurse aide, we’re able to offer the students an opportunity to actually take a nurse aide program. They also have the opportunity to take the Nurse Aide Registry exam and they’re industry ready.”
The program has maintained the 80 percent pass rate required by the college to keep the program running and students are taking the exact same course that the adults at CGTC take with the same rigor and testing.
“One thing I’ve enjoyed about working here,” said Harvey. “The high school seems to be very supportive of the program and they do a lot to help our students and help them stay on track with healthcare if the students have an interest.”
The class also requires 24 hours of clinical work at a local nursing home where students get first-hand, supervised experience working as a nurse aide in 8-hour shifts that are offered on weekends. The students are supervised by RNs who supervise and offer help throughout each shift. Harvey debriefs the students at the end of each clinical shift to give them constructive feedback on their work for the day to tell them where they did well and where they can improve.
“They’re able to take away some impact,” said Harvey. “I have students tell me it’s a very humbling experience.”