Locals partner for Health Occupations Program

SARANAC LAKE – Under the guidance of Adirondack Health staff, six local high school seniors are building a health-care career resume by applying classroom work to hands-on experience.

The students are gaining both knowledge and experience through the Health Occupations Program, an educational partnership between Adirondack Health and the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton counties’ BOCES program. They begin the program as high school juniors by taking a Nursing Assistant Course to establish a foundation for basic health professional skills. In addition to course work, the students completed 108 hours of direct care at Adirondack Health’s Uihlein Living Center in Lake Placid. They then took the New York State Nurse Aide Certification test to become Certified Nurse Aides, with additional certification in Dementia Care.

“The best part, I feel, of this program,” said Joy Gonyea, RN, Health Occupations teacher with BOCES, “is that we just don’t offer book work, we take it a step further and allow our students to experience what it is like to do actual hands-on work as Student Nursing Assistants at Uihlein Living Center. It’s such a valuable combination of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology coupled with actual care experience.”

Now in their senior year, the students are enrolled in electrocardiogram and phlebotomy courses. Classroom work for EKG and phlebotomy is bolstered by the opportunity to work along side skilled Adirondack Health staff. Upon completion of both courses, they will sit for a national certification exam.

In addition to specific course work and training, students shadow Adirondack Health professionals in the emergency department, medical imaging, ICU, physical therapy, outpatient lab, pharmacy and inpatient areas.

To learn more about the programs and services of Adirondack Health, log onto www.AdirondackHealth.org.