We learned to give bed baths, dress a patient, catheter care, range of motion exercises, taking vital signs, and many other skills.
When I was ten years old I told my aunt that I wanted to be a pediatric neurosurgeon when I grew up. Now, for a ten year old, this is an interesting thing to aspire to be, so my aunt immediately told me that I would never make it that far and I would change my mind. Up until a few years ago I was dead set on becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon and proving her wrong.
My freshman year of high school I was in a class called Medical Skills taught by Mrs. Sharon Belcher, ARNP. In this class I learned all about the different medical professions there are, gave a PowerPoint presentation about poison control, was introduced to my now favorite show House, kept up with current events in medicine, learned how to read and use military time, became CPR certified, learned how to dress a wound, and I was introduced to the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class offered to seniors by Mrs. Belcher.
I soon realized that getting into the CNA program as a senior would help me get used to being in the medical field and would be a good first step to becoming a Pediatric Neurosurgeon. Junior year rolled around and I signed up to be in Mrs. Belcher’s Anatomy and Physiology Honors class, which turned out to be a lot like Medical Skills. I learned the specifics of each body system and we made Anatomy music videos (as seen below) to learn all the bones and muscles.
Towards the end of February the office started to make announcements about applications to be in the 2012-2013 CNA class. Naturally, I got an application, filled it out, and set up the face-to-face interview to try and be accepted. Within a few weeks, Mrs. Belcher posted a list of the 14 people who made it into the program and I am proud to say that I have been working towards becoming a CNA ever since!
In this class we learn different skills, like bed baths, dressing a patient, catheter care, range of motion exercises, how to take vital signs, and many others. The first semester in school is all learning and book work with some fun thrown in there! We practice the skills on mannequins and get checked off so we can start learning new things. We also host school wide events. So far this year we have held 2 blood drives for the Blood Alliance, one of which my best friend and I hosted, and a Buddy Check 12 fundraiser with Jeanie Blalock.
The second semester of senior year we put these skills to use. We get to go to Baptist Medical Center – Nassau to observe and help with patients every Monday and Thursday, but some of us can be at Amelia Internal Medicine, Heartland Rehabilitation or Amelia Foot & Ankle while the rest are at BMC-N. Every Tuesday and Wednesday we are either helping the CNA’s at Quality Health, at Amelia Urgent Care, at FB Fire Rescue, or in the ESC classroom at the high school. We are each in a new department every week so we can learn the logistics of each job offered to a CNA.
So far, in the five weeks we have been going to clinical, I have been to the Pharmacy at BMC-N, Amelia Urgent Care, the lab at BMC-N, Quality Health, the ESC classroom, Heartland, FB Fire Rescue (my favorite so far!), Medical Records at BMC-N, and the Ambulatory Surgical Unit at BMC-N. We will continue to go to clinical and practice our skills for the next two months.
On May 3rd, all 14 of us will take a written test, then a skills check off test. These tests will show the CNA evaluators our patient skills and our bedside manner. Hopefully that day all of us will officially become Certified Nursing Assistants and we can work on finding a summer job before we go to college.
This class may not seem very interesting to someone who isn’t interested in being in the medical field, but it means a lot to me. I have made lifelong friends this year because of this class and learned so much that I wouldn’t have learned from taking elective classes or doing OJT. But, as much as I hate to admit it, my aunt was right… I did change my mind. I’ve decided Pediatrics isn’t my forte; I would get too attached to my patients. I believe a better fit for me is trauma. I aspire to be a trauma surgeon when I graduate from medical school. Since I like to be in the middle of the action and FB Fire Rescue has been my favorite clinical site, I am often referred to as an adrenaline junkie… well, if the shoe fits, wear it!
I see myself and every single one of my fellow classmates doing great things in the future because of the CNA program offered at Fernandina Beach High School, I strongly advise anyone interested in the medical field to look into it!