CNCC class fills need for nursing assistant

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The nurses aid classes that begin Monday at Colorado Northwestern Community College are not only a good idea for students interested in a nursing career, they are required by a number of universities before entering a registered nurse program.

"Some students are undecided about their career path," program Director Marilyn Bouldin said. "This is a good chance to see if you like nursing before committing for years of training."

The class is offered three times a year at CNCC, and students often work as certified nursing assistants while in class.

The class is an "intense" course, with 68 hours of classroom and lab time, Bouldin said. The course also includes a skills section that requires taking blood pressure and assisting with bathing, oral care and patient transfer techniques.

In addition to class time, students will be working three eight-hour shifts with an instructor. The class will conclude April 26.

After completion, students must take the state certification exam to become certified nursing assistants. Class graduates are allowed 90 days to work as nursing aids while waiting to take the exam for the results.

Bouldin said the program has been popular.

"We get students from all over -- Rangely, Kremmling, and Wyoming have all sent students to our nursing classes," Bouldin said. "We have three pages of waiting lists to attend the classes."

The University of Wyoming and the University of Northern Colorado both require a nurses aid certificate to enter their registered nurse programs, Bouldin said. After graduation, many students find positions locally at Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehabilitation Center in Craig and the Doak Walker Care Center in Steamboat Springs.

Graduates will be certified in Colorado after passing the certification exam, but Bouldin said the demand for nurses is still strong nationally, and positions are available across the country.

"The demand for nurses is as high as ever with the aging of baby boomers," Bouldin said. "We are hopeful that we will alleviate the nursing shortage in Northwest Colorado with these nursing classes."

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or at dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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