A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

First-ever Nurse Aides Apprentices program in NKY at St. E Healthcare is big success, funded by state

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

Seven area high school seniors became a special group of new associates of St. Elizabeth Healthcare as the first-ever healthcare apprentices in Northern Kentucky. The good news is that this 2021 inaugural class of apprenticeship Nurse Aides have now passed the state test, are fully employed at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, and are about to graduate from high school.

Count that 100% success.

These students proved that a program designed to increase the healthcare work force, providing an ‘earned while learning’ experience and getting a realistic view of health career options, does work

Lois Post

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet announced a major commitment to NKY in December 2019 — a K-TECH grant to focus on preparing a future workforce for healthcare careers.

Add to the success mix Lois Post, her 39 years experience in nursing and teaching and her skill at building partnerships, and get a powerful program that delivers results.

Post is manager of Health Career Programs at St. Elizabeth Healthcare under the Organizational Development Department. In that role, she — working with her partners — recruited students into the Nurse Aide Apprentice role in early 2021. The students represented six high schools: Lloyd Memorial High School, Campbell County Area Technology Center and Pendleton County High School, Ignite Institute and Boone County High School, and Simon Kenton High School
The current seven apprentices may be eligible for TRACK Youth Apprenticeship Industry Certification from the Career and Technical Division of the KDE.

The program has a number of engaged partners, St Elizabeth Healthcare, Gateway Community and Technical College, the NKY Chamber of Commerce and GROW NKY, and the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services.

“It’s so nice just to be able to pick up the phone and get advice and assistance from these great people,” Post said.

The leadership group at the announcement of the K-Tech grant. (File photo)

Post put together the successful apprentice program by doing her homework. She asked, “What is work-based learning?” and “How do you merge education with workforce needs?”

In planning the pilot, she aimed to focus on basic hands-on skills, integrating the often under-rated “soft skills” required for real success, and providing the most positive role-model experiences.

Post’s own “soft skills” came into play — especially an ability to work cooperatively with a wide range of partners, coordinate their individual needs, and bring them all to the table.

The apprentice Nurse Aides also got career help — how to find a nursing school, how to get funding, and how to make a career transition.

Besides implementation of the St. Elizabeth Nurse Aide Apprenticeship, here are just a few examples of other St. Elizabeth Work-Based Learning [WBL] Programs that Post and other St. Elizabeth associates manage with assistance from the hospital’s Health Career Committee:

Health Career Programs through Organizational Development

• “Pathways to Nursing” Summer Camp in collaboration with NKU’s Nursing Department,

• Health Career EXPLORERS in conjunction with North Central AHEC,

• Streaming Live Surgery hosted jointly with Perioperative Services,

• “Wait…where’s Winston,” a St. Elizabeth-creation. This lighthearted story/coloring book introduces health career options to our youngest Pre-K-through-5 students,
• Healthcare Speakers Bureau to respond to requests for our associates to speak with individuals, schools, and community groups about health careers,

• Shadowing of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals,

• Numerous virtual events, such as the KY Chamber of Commerce BUS to BUSINESS featuring St. Elizabeth.

Health Career Programs throughout the Organization

• Medical Observation Opportunity Network [M.O.O.N.] Program through Perioperative Services,

• High School Volunteers & High School Service Internships  through Volunteer Services,

• Regional Youth Leadership through Professional Services Division,

• Shadowing of Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers through Medical Affairs.

In early 2020, there were over 30 work-based learning programs at St. Elizabeth. Virtual programs started due to COVID will remain to be offered; onsite health career education programs continue to reopen as able.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment