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Filling a growing demand

GROWING FIELD — Bailey Ebright, a junior in the health technologies program at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, practices on her “patient” and said her education is giving her a great start in her future to become a neonatal nurse. All of the students in the program eventually move on to work in some aspect of the health care field. -- Contributed

BLOOMINGDALE — Health care has been a consistent frontrunner in the career field and the health technologies program at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School has continued its mission to supply the demand for workers.

From nurses to phlebotomists, the program has churned out employees in all aspects of the industry. Instructor Tammy Sismondo said about 80 percent of her graduates move on to further their education with the largest percentage in nursing to medical assisting.

“Several go on to work right from the program as a pharmacy tech, nurse’s aide and EKG tech,” she said, adding that 100 percent of her students gain employment in some form of health care. “They work at local hospitals or doctor’s offices and a lot of health care facilities, and a large majority work while they are in college. Health care is part of a growing career field that can offer lifetime employment and career advancement. Whether you are interested in pursuing an entry-level position or planning to further your career by attending a college or university, we are prepared to meet your needs. This fast-paced, state-of-the-art program will prepare you for success.”

She currently has 23 students in her program and juniors gain knowledge in medical terminology and basic entry-level skills such as safety, infection control, legal and ethical issues and anatomy and physiology. Seniors learn nurse assisting, EKG technician, phlebotomy tech and School-to-Work. Students may still participate in homeschool functions such as sports, be a member of the National Technical Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and take part in College Credit Plus to get a jumpstart on higher education.

In addition, her pupils have joined SkillsUSA and Health Occupations Students of America, the latter of which has resulted in three national winners and numerous finalists. The JVS is also affiliated with the National Health Care Association and offers many of the same certifications that are offered by colleges after graduation including phlebotomy technician, patient care technician, clinical medical assistant, Ohio Department of Health State-Tested Nurse’s Aide, OSHA Career Safe and CPR, AED and First Aid. College Credit Plus is offered through Eastern Gateway Community College for medical terminology, medical assisting, employability skills, nurse assisting and CPR/First Aid.

Sismondo continued that students who move on to college may pursue two-and four-year degrees to become a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, radiology technician, physical therapy assistant, emergency medical technician, medical assistant, respiratory therapist, occupational therapist or work in sports medicine.

“We offer an extensive job shadowing program in conjunction with many local health care facilities. Job shadowing is an important aspect when choosing future career goals and aspirations,” she noted. “Students are better prepared to make informed decisions regarding future career choices and goals.”

She said shadowing gives pupils insight into their future career choice while volunteering helps them become acclimated to the health care environment and transition more easily to the workforce. Students have the opportunity to participate in the School-to-Work Program, which allows them to earn high school credit as they work in their chosen field of interest. However, the sequence of the senior curriculum is changing next year to afford them even more chances for real-world experience.

“We do our nurse’s aide clinicals at Lancia’s Villa Royale with three full days for each group before they test,” she explained. “For phlebotomy, they draw blood and need 100 hours before they are eligible to sit for a test while the EKG tech requires 10 hours at facilities for clinicals. They also have an opportunity to take the test for patient care technician.”

Students planning to continue in the field say the JVS is helping them prepare for their career path.

Junior Bailey Ebright, a student at Buckeye Local High School, hopes to become a neonatal nurse and said she is getting a great start with her education.

“I’ll be ahead of my classmates. I’m more knowledgeable in what I want to do in life,” she added.

Allison Robinette, a junior at Indian Creek High School, is still reviewing her options but knows she wants to help others.

“You are getting a head start (here) and feel like you are getting a better look into it than when you go straight into college,” she concluded.

For information about health tech or any of the JVS programs, call (740) 264-5545 or go online to www.jeffjvs.org.

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