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BURLINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — As healthcare systems across the state try to fill thousands of empty nursing positions, local school systems are stepping in to help.

Programs like the one at the Career and Technical 

Education Center in Alamance County is helping students obtain their Certified Nursing Certificate before they graduate.

According to Kamari Mims, a senior in the program, the courses are rigorous. “Every day we’re working on new skills and we get checked off on skills that we would possibly have to do when it comes time for testing,” she says.

Instructors say each skill must be performed at 100% if the students want to pass.

“It’s over 42 skills that we have to teach them. And then after they’ve learned the 42 skills, they have to get checked off, you know, it has to be proficient with those 42 skills,” says Karen Grissett a  Health Science instructor.  “So, you know, it’s about basically paying attention, making sure that when I’m doing the demonstration, that they’re paying attention to the demonstration, so they are going to have maybe a day or two to practice and then it’s a checkoff. And then from that point, then you’re going to go to the facility and then you’re going to start everything that you’ve learned in the classroom atmosphere. You’ll go and you’ll be able to, you know, do that with an actual live patient.”

Every skill gives them insight into what their future could hold.

“I just like working in the health care field,” says Mims. “Like I was always interested in working in healthcare and my aunt is actually in nursing school too. So kind of watching her, maybe want to do it too. And, being able to get my CNA before I graduate high school would really help me out when I get to college.”

That’s the goal of this class. Earning their CNA certificate before they graduate. Having that can open many doors in the medical field and in college.

For senior Taylor Cooper, “Becoming a CNA is basically like one of the first steps to becoming a nurse and I thought it would give me more insight on the medical field and what it’s like to be in that type of environment.”

Last year because of covid, the nursing classes were canceled. But this year the state worked with the schools to make the skills and testing available for the students at their home schools. That will take place at the end of the semester.