INA, Ill. – Responding to tremendous demand for entry into its nursing program, Rend Lake College has expanded its Certified Nursing Assistant program by bringing classes to students in the McLeansboro area. These classes begin in February at the Hamilton County Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Students can enroll as soon as Jan. 2, when college offices re-open after the holiday season.
“Overwhelming demand is such a good challenge to have to go up against. It’s really wonderful the college is able to expand the CNA program into McLeansboro,” said Kim Robert, chair of RLC’s Allied Health Division and the college’s radiologic technology program director. “Not only do we get to bring our programming to the community, but the students from that area get to avoid the commute to campus and the travel costs associated with it. We appreciate all the hard work and help from Kelly Boggess and everyone at the Hamilton Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in getting this expansion going.”
Robert explained that students entering the CNA program must pass a reading test at the college. The tuition for CNA courses is waived for students who live in RLC District #521, leaving them minimal lab and supply costs to complete the eight-week classroom/clinical program that prepares them to take the state CNA registry examination.
Whether it’s as a registered nurse, practical nurse or certified nurse assistant; the number of nursing positions at nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities are growing much faster than the average for all industries – the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its Spring Occupational Outlook Quarterly an increase of nearly 400,000 jobs at just nursing homes in the U.S. between 2008-2018. Nursing aides, orderlies and attendants made up the largest group of employees at nursing homes in 2009 and were top-five in median national wages at these facilities, according to the BLS. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses received the highest pay among occupations with the largest employment in nursing care facilities in May of 2009, the BLS stated.
RLC continues to offer its CNA program at the MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon and plans are underway to offer the program again on the main campus in Ina. A CNA typically provides hands-on care and performs routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical staff. CNAs handle many aspects of a patient’s care – from eating, dressing and bathing to answering calls for help, delivering messages and monitoring vital signs. The CNA program at RLC is the gateway to the LPN and Associate Degree Nursing (RN) programs at the college.
“For those out there who are interested in a career in healthcare, the field is abundant with opportunity, and the CNA program is a good way to determine if this occupation is a good fit,” added Robert. “While it is a demanding program, it is also a very rewarding line of work. Our faculty does an excellent job of preparing students for the challenges and experiences they will face throughout their nursing careers.”