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RHS students achieve CNA certification

For the second year in a row, the Russellville High School Health Sciences’ Nurse Aid class has a 100 percent pass rate from students who took the Certified Nurse Aid test at the end of March.

Dr. Stephanie Oliver, health sciences instructor at RHS, said all 14 students passed both the skills and knowledge portions of the exam and now have their CNA certification, which will allow them to obtain jobs immediately.

“Any of these students who have this certification can apply for jobs at nursing homes, hospitals, doctor’s offices and even private duty,” Oliver said. “One of our current students has actually already applied for and started working for one of the local nursing homes making $10.25 an hour, which is a very good amount for a high school student.”

Oliver said the class, which covers 26 skill sets over two semesters, is made up of all seniors, since a person must be 18 years old or older to receive a CNA certification.

“These students are already applying for jobs they’ll be able to have after they graduate,” she said. “From last year’s class, nine of the 14 secured jobs at local nursing homes, and one secured a job at a hospital in the Shoals area. Many of them still have these jobs, either as a primary career or as a part-time job while they attend college to further their career.”

Oliver said one of the big benefits to having this class offered at RHS is the advantage it gives students in terms of time and money.

“The school pays for this class and for the testing the students must complete in order to receive their certification,” Oliver said. “If they waited until they were out of high school to get this certification, they would have to take the course at a community college, which would cost about $500, and they would have to pay for the CPR certification and their other testing. Taking it here at RHS saves these students about $800-1,000.”

Oliver said it also gives RHS students an advantage over others going into the same job field.

“These students are ready to go to work before they even graduate from high school,” she said. “If they choose to have this as a career, then they graduate with not only a high school diploma but with a career as well. If they choose to use this as training or experience while they continue their education through nursing school, they will be learning and experiencing things that could help them in their classes. It’s a great situation either way you look at it.”

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said having any of the students pass their CNA testing would have been a great achievement, but having a 100 percent pass rate two years in a row is something to truly be proud of.

“Obviously this course is doing what it was created to do, and that’s give our students the knowledge and skills they need to obtain an important certification that can help them in their future career or educational plans,” Grimes said. “Our goal is to always be preparing our students for the future and this course and its success rate are a great example of that.

“We are proud of these students and the hard work they put into this course and into their testing, and we appreciate Dr. Oliver for providing them with what they need to succeed. Our students are our community’s greatest resource and we are glad to be investing in the next generation of healthcare workers through the courses we offer.”

Oliver said there are other certifications her students can receive, such as the Certified Patient Care Technician, which several of the CNA students will also test for.

“Being dually-certified just increases their chances of obtaining a job or obtaining a better job at the place they choose to work,” Oliver said. “It’s all about giving them the best opportunities possible.”

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