By Hannah Curran, Editor
CLAY — The Clay-Chalkville High School (CCHS) Health Science Department hosted a White Coat Ceremony honoring 21 students who passed their certification exam.
The Health Science Department teaches all courses that are related to healthcare, and two of those courses, Patient Care Technician and Pharmacy Technician, have significantly impacted 21 different CCHS students.
“What happens is these upper-level kids that decide that this is something that they want to do career-wise, and they really have, that go get it attitude, they can take the class, and then they can sit for the certification exam at the end,” Health Science Department teacher Farah Bridges RN, BSN said.
Three other instructors, along with Bridges, help teach the students in the Health Science Department: Nicole Stoddard RN, BSN; Amanda Daniel RN, BSN; and Kelli Seremet ATC. It’s a group effort to prepare the students for the exams.
There is a Health Science Program in all Jefferson County Schools, but CCHS is the largest program in the county.
“There’s four of us, and no other school has four,” Bridges said. “Our program is the biggest we have, and our classes are slam-packed every year.”
The certification exams are provided to CCHS by the National Health care Association, and Bridges said that both the Patient Care Technician and Pharmacy Technician exams are “super rigorous.”
“They take the test with a proctor, and if they pass, they get their certification,” Bridges said. “So if it’s pharmacy technician, they can start applying for jobs right after graduation at a pharmacy. If it’s a patient care technician, they can start applying for jobs at hospitals and clinics that employ Patient Care Technicians.”
Patient Care Technicians provide hands-on care to the patient. Bridges said they are like the nurse’s right-hand man.
“They report to the registered nurse, and they do things like changing bed linens, feeding patients, helping patients put their clothes on, helping them walk, and sometimes doing a lot of the dirty work,” Bridges said. “They do everything. They check vital signs, fill water pitchers, draw blood, and EKGs.”
Patient Care Technicians have to know rhythm identification on EKGs, which means the curriculum must be just as rigorous as the exam. The same applies to Pharmacy technicians, who have to know about different medicines.
“They have to know the generic forms and the laws,” Bridges said. “So we had just one class this year for patient care and pharm tech. Normally, we have a couple of patient care technician classes going on. It just depends on how many kids sign up.”
This year 21 students from the 2022 senior class are certified. Juniors can also get certified, but it has to be post-graduation.
“Juniors can’t take their tests for next year, anything greater than like one year to the day,” Bridges said. “So these seniors that graduate next week, my juniors are taking their tests after graduation so that they’re ‘seniors,’ when they take it, and they should all do well also.”
CCHS has never held a ceremony similar to this in the past, and the school wanted to show more appreciation to the students.
“We thought why don’t we do a White Coat Ceremony, kind of like what they do for doctors and nurses and physician’s assistants when they either finish or start their program, they get their white coats, and it’s sort of like a rite of passage,” Bridges said. “They get their white coats, it’s got their name on it with their credential, and it’s like a show of professionalism and education and trust and speaks volumes about what they do and what they want to do.”
Bridges said the kids took pride in their White Coat Ceremony last night, and many of the students from the other Health Sciences classes wanted a white coat as well.
“I think it might also serve as a motivational technique also,” Bridges said. “But we had it here at the school, and we invited people from the Jefferson County Board of Education, we invited our director, and we invited all the parents, and never having done this before, we didn’t know what the turnout would be, but it was really great. The feedback we’ve gotten was so positive, and the kids and the parents were so proud.”
Every student at CCHS has the option to take the class.
“They have to take a foundational course, but then off of that they have some off sheets, we teach foundations of health science is the first foundational course. Then off of that, they have the option to take medical terminology, sports medicine, and emergency services, then they take patient care technician, which is the class that does one of those certifications. They can do pharmacy tech, another one of the certifications; they can do a health internship; it’s meant for you to be shadow.”
CCHS also have an “offshoot of health science, which is called Project Lead the Way,” Bridges said they don’t credential in that course because it’s kind of a mix of medicine and science together, but it is under the “Career Tech umbrella,” and it is the Biomedical Science Academy.
Certified Pharmacy Technicians:
- Isiah Barlatier, CPHT
Certified Patient Care Technicians:
- Salma Bocanegra-Tomas, CPCT
- Camberlan Brown, CPCT
- De’Mia Burrell, CPCT
- Estefani Corona, CPCT
- Amani Moriyah Dawkins, CPCT
- Jada Davis, CPCT
- Kayla Gadson, CPCT
- Lauren Holmes, CPCT
- Cheyenne Johnson, CPCT
- Dayana Juarez, CPCT
- Michelle Martinez-Barrera, CPCT
- Issac Martinez, CPCT
- Cesar Perez-Romo, CPCT
- Alexis Randolph, CPCT
- Ayanah Scott, CPCT
- Nicholas Seay, CPCT
- Ah’Ykena Stanley, CPCT
- Breanna Stoddard, CPCT
- Laura Stringfellow, CPCT
- Elizabeth Whitley, CPCT