Students work to complete nursing program, prepare for college

Medina Jusufovic, Staff Writer

Nursing is a field high school students choose to study, and this is what senior Emma Grace Walter decided she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Walter decided to take the nursing program at Des Moines Area Community College. The DMACC nursing program has several pre-nursing curriculum to get past in order to become CNA (certified nursing assistant) certified. 

In order acquire a CNA certification, one must complete 75 hours of being a nurse aide (a person who assists trained nurses in a hospital by performing general services, such as making beds, giving baths, or taking vital signs), 75 hours of being an advanced nurse aide, this course provides an opportunity to gain the additional competencies and clinical experiences needed to seek employment in a hospital, pass the nurse aide/orderly comp exam, pass the nurse aide/orderly skills exam, pass health science anatomy and pass introduction to psychology. The nursing program has prerequisites including high school biology and chemistry, and an ACT score of 19 or higher.

Usually the hours of being a nurse aide/advanced nurse aide takes one semester to complete. Walter however, will complete these hours in two weeks during the summer. “I’m not looking forward to it because I know it will be a lot of work,” Walter said. “I’ll be in class basically every single day, all day, and doing clinical work every weekend which won’t be easy.”

Walter had no choice on when she could achieve her CNA certification. “I’m doing it during the summer because I did not get signed up for the one during the school year,” Walter said. “Also, I play a sport during each semester and I didn’t want it to get in the way.” Walter also takes many advanced courses here at the school so she can take more credits for college.

Walter also does not mind having to complete her CNA certification over the summer, despite the shortened time. “I need to get it done in order to be able to work at the Pella hospital while I’m college next year at Central,” she said. “Also, it will allow me to get higher quality contact hours during college to get into Physicians Assistant school or medical school.” Contact hours refer to the number of classroom hours that a course must meet during a semester.

While Walter is completing all of the courses needed over the summer, senior Payton Thompson is still working on completing her CNA certification this semester. Thompson has yet to complete state testing to be put on the registry, and then complete the Advanced Nurse Aide by April 20. It has taken Thompson some time to complete other prerequisites as well. “To get both (hours completed) Basic and Advanced Nurse Aide, it took a semester,” Thompson said.

For Thompson, she was not so sure on her future plans. “I am going to the University of Iowa and going through the nursing program there, but I did not need to have my CNA to get in,” Thompson said. “I just did it to get clinical experience and make sure that nursing is what I want to do in the future.”

The nursing program is offered at all six DMACC locations, which is available to juniors and seniors as a post-secondary enrollment option.