The Nurse Aide Program at the UAF Community and Technical College offers students the opportunity to acquire basic nursing theory and care-giving skills. Nurse Aides work as members of the health care delivery team, giving hands-on care in a variety of settings. This one-semester training is approved by the Alaska Board of Nursing and meets the education requirements to take the State of Alaska administered Certified Nurse Aide exam.
This program prepares students to function as direct care members of the health care and nursing teams, providing direct care to persons of all ages in a wide variety of settings. Course content includes the nursing process, basic body structure and function, supporting healthy functioning in all age groups, as well as working with persons who experience a wide array of physical and mental disorders. There is a focus on safety and infection control, as well as professionalism and communication.
Nurse Aide training involves lecture and clinical skills practice in classrooms and laboratories at the UAF Community and Technical College. There is also a 48 hour clinical practicum component at a long term care center or assisted living home giving direct care to persons with a variety of diseases and disabilities. All clinical experiences happen in groups of 10 students or less, and are led by experienced licensed nurses. Students must provide proof of immunization for Hepatitis B, MMR, chickenpox and TB testing, as well as a criminal background check before working in the clinical areas.
Graduates of this program work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, home health care, long term care and assisted living. Jobs for nurse aides are available day, evening and night shifts, with opportunities for part time as well as full time work, and often flexibility to accommodate further education. Indeed the demand for nurses remains high, and employers often support nurse aides who wish to continue their nursing education and become RNs.
Specialized roles for Nurse Aides include Restorative Aides who work with Physical and Occupational Therapists, and Ward Clerks who do clerical and administrative work in hospitals and long term care centers. Nurse Aides may choose to focus on Dementia care or Pediatrics, work in Surgery or the I.C.U. Home health care offers Nurse Aides the opportunity to work more independently, caring for individual clients in their homes under the supervision of a registered nurse. Doctor’s offices and clinics also employ nurse aides to do both clerical and clinical work.
There is recognition of the value of Nurse Aide education and experience by Schools of Nursing, and by many other health related professional schools. Nursing assistants develop the ability to meet the physical care needs of individuals, as well as the communication skills and confidence to work well withall kinds of people – the ideal foundation for any career in health care.
Cathy Winfree, RN, BSN
Nurse Aide Program Coordinator