July 14, 2005
Nurse aides are one of the top ten most needed professionals in the nation. With people enjoying longer life spans and baby boomers aging, there will be more elderly people with more needs creating a demand for more professional caregivers to care for them. To help remedy what is already a shortage situation, nurse aide training courses are being offered by HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, in several locations in the Susquehanna Valley.

Classes will be offered at HACC's Senator John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center on the Harrisburg Campus, with classes starting Aug. 3, Sep. 14 and Oct. 11. Classes start at HACC's Penn Center at Third and Wiconisco Street in Harrisburg on Aug. 10, Sep. 7, Oct. 5 and Oct. 17. A series of classes begin at Diakon Frey Village Middletown Aug. 15. Claremont Nursing and Rehab Center begins classes Sep. 7 and Oct. 31.

Classes will be offered at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, with classes starting Aug. 8, Sep. 12 and Oct. 11; and at HACC's Lebanon Campus, starting Aug. 15.

Classes start at Nottingham Village in Northumberland, Aug. 10 and Oct. 5. Classes start at HCR Manorcare Sunbury on Aug. 30, Sep. 26 and Oct. 25.

Classes in Williamsport are offered at HCR Manorcare Williamsport South, starting Aug. 10, Sep. 6 and Oct. 5.

For those who are compassionate and enjoy working with people, being a nurse aide can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career. "Nurse aides are more connected to the residents," said Kathie Zimmerman, director of nurse aide training at HACC. "The relationships that the aides have with the residents are remarkable."

According to Zimmerman, being a nurse aide is a great entry level position in the healthcare industry, with many jobs often offering good benefits packages.

"Many people don't realize that this is such a short course," adds Zimmerman. "Although it is only 13 days long, the course is very intense and does require some homework."

HACC's nurse aide training is taught by registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses. HACC is almost always looking for new instructors in many statewide locations.

The 13-day course or 15-evening course totals 104 hours. It falls under the regulatory status of the PA Department of Education, and successful completion of the nurse aide course prepares students to take the Pennsylvania State Competency Exam through the American Red Cross. This is required to work in all long term care facilities and in many hospitals, home health and hospice agencies and assisted living communities.

Cost for the course is $585. Those who are self-paying and get a job at a long-term care facility can be reimbursed for the cost through Medicare.

HACC also does training at nursing homes for their prospective nurse aide employees. These students already have been selected for hire as a nurse aide and thus do not have to pay the $585 in advance.

The Nurse Aide program is also a great career path for those already pursuing degrees in some 20 other healthcare fields. Students can gain experience as a nurse aide and earn money while pursuing an advanced degree. Many employers have tuition refund programs.

Prospective students should enroll early so that they may fulfill entrance requirements including a physical, background check and tuberculosis test prior to the start of classes. Applicants must be able to lift 50 pounds to their waist.

The purpose of the course is to provide the long-term care nurse aide trainee with a basic level of knowledge and skills needed to care for an elderly resident/client as set forth by the profession of nursing and regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Registration is available by calling HACC at (717) 221-1352 or toll free in Pennsylvania, (800) 222-4222 extension 1352.

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