COVID isn’t going to stop Silva students from becoming certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
The 20 students enrolled in Silva’s CNA program went from virtual to a simulated nursing home scenario recently – ensuring they complete the required nursing home rotation they need to sit for the exam.
Current COVID restrictions keep the students from doing rounds at actual nursing home facilities, which have been a hotbed for virus outbreaks. Instead, teacher Sharon Venegas has turned her classroom into a sort of practice clinic where students take turns acting as patients and CNAs.
They work on patient mobility, feeding, taking vital signs and other skills required to earn their certification.
“We have to think of the residents at nursing home and their protection,” said Venegas, a registered nurse. “That’s why we having to complete the rotations in the nursing lab.”
The students returned about a month ago for live class, a refreshing experience for both teachers and students who had been online for a year. To keep safe, students double mask and wear shields.
“It’s exhilarating,” said senior Kelvin Boakye. “Being online wasn’t the best for me. Face-to-face is much easier and much more important to me.”
Boakye is grateful for the opportunity and experiences he’s gained throughout his years at Silva. The future cardiac thoracic surgeon said it solidified his desire to become a doctor.
“When I came to Silva, I had vague plan of what I wanted to do with my life but as I made it through my years, I decided what course I want to stay on,” said Boakye, double masked and dressed in scrubs.
Students worked in the different stations busily caring for their patients. There were a variety of simulated scenarios taking place. In one setting, senior Mariana Meza tended to patient/student Alexa Delgado.
“I’m taking urine analysis from the catheter so when she pees it travels through the tube and I measure the output,” she said, holding up the tube.
Delgado laid in the hospital bed, acting out her role as patient.
“I feel good and relaxed,” Delgado said. “I’m being taken care very well.”
In another area, senior Ashley Medina was pretending to have mobility issues while a fellow student worked on her range of motion.
“It’s been a really great experience,” said Media, who plans to graduate from UTEP and become a registered nurse. “We aren’t in the nursing home like we should be but it’s a great experience and a step towards becoming an RN.”
Teacher Adriana Padilla, RN, walked around the classroom monitoring the students in their roles as patients and CNAs. She enjoys seeing the students’ motivation grow as they return to class and practice skills on real people.
“They are telling me that before they had no motivation. That they didn’t want to sign on,” Padilla said. “They wondered ‘how are we going to get this done since we can’t go to a clinical setting?’”
But now, the students are finding their way with real life scenarios that they would have faced in a nursing home setting – gaining the knowledge and skills required to test and receive their certification.
“We give them scenarios and they are going all out, acting it out,” Padilla said. “We tell them ‘this is the way you are going to get real-life experiences.’ And along with learning their skills, they’re learning a little drama skills, too.”