BVT senior Brooke Linehan of Douglas taking Upton resident Callie Smith’s blood pressure.
Free health screenings promote real-life learning
For many years parents have suggested children learn from their elders. Recently, the students in Blackstone Valley Tech’s Practical Nursing, Health Services, and Dental Assisting students did exactly that during the annual Aging Well Assessment Day.
The Aging Well Assessment Day brings area senior citizens age 85 and older to the school for a day of height checks, weight and vision screenings, a nutritional assessment and home safety check, followed by an hour-long physical assessment performed by Practical Nursing Students and staff. Valley Tech’s Health Services, Dental Assisting, and Culinary Arts students also participate in the event and work directly with the public.
The event was established in 2010 by the BVT Post-Secondary Practical Nursing Program as a way for its adult-learners to practice real-life application of their nursing skills and theory. Many of the area seniors see it as an opportunity to give back to the students and help them further their studies.
“I’ve been trying for the last couple of years to be a part of the program because I’ve heard such wonderful things about it, but it’s always full when I call” said Callie Smith of Upton. “This year I got a spot and I am glad to be a part of the great program. It’s good experience for the kids and they need live models”
BVT’s Practical Nursing Coordinator, Joann Monks, MBA, MSc. RN-BC. RMA, acknowledged the importance of hands-on experience in the program’s curriculum.
“Aging Well Assessment Day helps students develop their clinical decision-making skills by engaging in real-life assessments of older adults. It also promotes the integration of vocational departments within BVT and in partnership with the community,” Monks said. “A special thank you is owed to the staff and participants, without whom Aging Well Assessment Day would not be possible.”
The BVT Post-Secondary Practical Nursing program was established in 2009 to provide adults in the Blackstone Valley the life-changing opportunity to pursue a career in healthcare. The program has the approval of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and provides 1090 hours of instruction, with a minimum of 945 hours of nursing courses, 540 of which are clinical practice.
The program has had remarkable results as its graduates have earned stellar state license test results and solid placement. For the past four years, graduates have maintained a pass rate of 100 percent on the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. The program is anxiously awaiting the results of the Class of 2016’s licensure exam, as it expects to see similar marks.