The Eagle's Eye

Social Services Academy receives $75,000 grant, enriches program

Nursing program to offer students path to earn RN certification, college credit in high school

Senior+Noemi+Jimenez+works+with+manikin+to+practice+for%0Aher+hospital+rotation+practicum+class.
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Social Services Academy receives $75,000 grant, enriches program

Senior Noemi Jimenez works with manikin to practice for
her hospital rotation practicum class.

Senior Noemi Jimenez works with manikin to practice for her hospital rotation practicum class.

Patricia Rico

Senior Noemi Jimenez works with manikin to practice for her hospital rotation practicum class.

Patricia Rico

Patricia Rico

Senior Noemi Jimenez works with manikin to practice for her hospital rotation practicum class.

Mylo Bissell, News Editor

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In 2015, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported a deficit of 14,973 Registered Nurses (RN) in Texas.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the RN field has a growth rate of 15 percent, which is much faster than the average rate of all occupational fields.

With the high demand for RNs comes appropriate wages of about $33.65 an hour, according to BLS, which is one of the higher median wages in the United States.

There are many different types of nursing certifications, each one enabling a different type of work and providing different levels of salary.

For more than 10 years, Akins has offered students in the Social Services Academy the opportunity to earn a Certified Nursing Assistant certification. It’s a rigorous major to follow, requiring 200 hours of training and preparation for a difficult certification exam.

“CNA is a very rewarding program not only because of the work and experience you get…but also because of all the lives you get to touch,” CNA students Andrea Cuadra said. “It changes you in an emotional way.”

The credential has allowed students to take on jobs as CNAs as soon as they graduate from high school.

Health science teacher Juanita Soto has wanted to expand Akins nursing preparation programs and next year, that dream will become a reality.

After earning a $75,000 grant from the state, Akins will next year begin offering a RN track.

The grant will provide access to the latest nursing technologies, career information and innovative practices so students in the nursing track can have a competitive edge when applying to nursing schools.

Soto applied for the grant and she hopes that it helps enrich the program. They are updating their current equipment, most notably, two new hospital beds and three simulation manikins. These manikins will be able to simulate human noises and actions and help students prepare for their internship in the nursing home.

“We have a lot of consumables so having money to be able to spend on just equipment is exciting,” Soto said.

For Soto, the new RN track is about more than just improving her program, it’s about helping her students get a leg up on other nursing school applicants and drawing connections between core subjects and nursing.

“When they have a CNA certification they’re already a little bit ahead of the (rest of) nursing students,” Soto said.

The RN track will be even more rigorous than the CNA program because it will require students to do more college-level work while at Akins, she said.

“We’re going to encourage students to take AP and OnRamps courses so when they graduate they’re already into their first year of nursing school,” Soto said

e track that Soto has chosen transfers most directly into the University of Texas’ Dell Nursing School but the credits also transfer over to Baylor, Texas State and other nursing schools.

“It’s a really great opportunity because a lot of schools don’t even have the complete track and being able to work with UT and have that same classes is really a bene t to our kids,” Soto said.

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