Gadsden State Community College starting nursing apprenticeship program
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Gadsden State Community College is making history as the first college in the state to offer apprenticeships for students in the registered nurse program.
Dean of Health Sciences Ken Kirkland says these students will get the chance to earn and learn, earning money and starting their career while completing their nursing degree. Kirkland has worked on this apprenticeship since 2019.
“We were able to work with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship and the Board of Nursing which has been instrumental in amending the nurse practice act,” says Dean Kirkland. “There are a lot of legislators that helped really get us to this point. Being able to be on the ground and implement that has been exciting.”
Kirkland says these nursing students will be paired with an experienced nurse and get the opportunity to work alongside them in a healthcare facility.
“Clinicals go in groups of students so now that students can complete clinical in-house,” says Kirkland. “They’re able to use the equipment that their employer has. They’re able to use the electronic medical records system. They’re able to document and chart. These are typically skills that we don’t see those ones on ones until they get to their last semester.”
In this new apprenticeship, students will be able to start as early as their second semester. About 15 students are participating in the first group of the apprenticeship and they’ll get the opportunity to work with local hospitals and nursing homes, allowing them to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-life situations.
“The students get a temporary permit from the board of nursing that allows them to practice those skills one on one with that journey worker without a faculty member present. That helps connect the student’s skills to what they’re learning in the classroom to what they’re learning on the job.”
Gadsden State plans to host a signing event Thursday, June 23 at 2 p.m. at the Beck Field House at the Wallace Drive Campus.
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