Dawn Polkabla teaches in the Nursing Program at CVIT. Courtesy Photo
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Beginning a Career in Healthcare with CVIT

Thinking about a career in healthcare? A great place to start is by becoming a nursing assistant. CVIT offers a comprehensive Nursing Assistant course, specifically designed as an introduction to healthcare.

During this one-year program, students learn medical terminology, medical dosages, and basic healthcare concepts; how to take a patient’s vital signs and how to help patients with daily care, like helping bathe or shower them, dress and feed them; do oral care and other basic hygiene-type things.

They also learn how to safely transfer a patient from one place to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair; and they learn proper body mechanics and what to look for and how to respond in emergent situations.

This entry-level knowledge provides a great foundation if they want to go on to become a nurse. There are some other allied health classes to give students a basic understanding of healthcare so they can obtain entry-level positions in healthcare settings. 

“The most common places for a nursing assistant or a nurses aide to work are a hospital, long-term care facility (formerly known as nursing homes), hospice or home health,” says Dawn Polkabla, an EAC – GPC instructor that teaches in the CVIT Nursing Program.

The course combines lectures with hands-on experience in the school’s skills lab, followed by clinical experience in a hospital or long-term care facility, where they can perform the skills they’ve learned on real patients.

Upon graduation, students can take the test to obtain their state license as a Nursing Assistant through the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

One student who graduated from the program and who just started the Nursing program at Northern Arizona University is Allicia Woodring, 18. She says CVIT’s Nursing Assistant program helped her get started on her career path early.

“It’s a great program and since it was paid for by CVIT, it was a good way to get ahead,” she says. “And Dawn’s a really good teacher, so it’s a fun class all the same.”

Polkabla says this course is also superb for older adults who are caregivers for a loved one. “One woman who took the course is a caregiver for (a parent) and it boosted her confidence to know she was doing things the right way.”

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