Vance Medical Academy is off and running

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 05:58 PM

Nearly 40 high school students in Vance County Schools are receiving training in a variety of medical professions beginning this year through the Vance Medical Academy, a new program that emphasizes career readiness.

The medical academy gives students an opportunity to take classes at Vance-Granville Community College and earn nursing assistant and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification by the time they graduate high school.

Career and Technical Education Director Willa Clark said the program is a way to expose Vance County students to potential careers.

“The whole purpose is to make sure kids have a career pathway after graduation,” Clark said. “They need to know that if they want to pursue a certain career, these are the classes they can take in high school and college. One of the things we have got to do is keep the standards high and students will rise to those standards.”

The state funding allotment for Vance County’s CTE program increased this year by $2,690, from $1,968,760 to $1,971,450. The state also provided $1,549 more funding for CTE program support, which rose from $95,985 to $97,534.

The program offers career pathways in nursing, pharmacy technician and medical assistant.

Clark said the students enrolled this year are required to wear medical scrubs during school four days a week.

“That helps them to see that this is what you have to do in a real setting,” she said of the uniform. “The idea is to start them as early as possible to let them see what its like.”

Starting in their junior year, VMA students can take classes at VGCC with no extra charge through the Career and College Promise program, which allows students to take college classes in high school.

Melodie Kernahan, a nurse who teaches at Southern Vance, said there are 34 students in her biomedical technology class, which is the first class medical academy students must take.

On Tuesday, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s traveling science bus visited her class.

Kernahan said her students practiced DNA fingerprinting, which they prepared for with a lesson focused on DNA and restrictive enzymes.

She said students who pursue the nursing path will take Health Science I, Health Science II and Fundamentals of Nursing.

Her students will train for the skills portion of the state CNA exam with a clinical internship at a local nursing home.

Clark said a Fire and Police Academy, which could accommodate 120 students, is in the works for this year but hasn’t started yet.

Students from Northern Vance and Southern Vance have applied for the Fire and Police Academy, and the schools are processing those applications, Clark said.

She said they plan to have three classes with 20 students per class held at Southern Vance.

“We are basing these programs on job market trends,” she said. “You don’t want to prepare these kids for a job that is not going to be there.”

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.