NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville State Community College, TriStar Health, HCA Healthcare Foundation, and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) have teamed up to create a new accelerated career pipeline to the high-demand healthcare industry. Working together, the three organizations are creating pathways into healthcare through education for roles such as patient care technicians, particularly for residents in historically underserved areas, in healthcare facilities throughout the Metro Nashville area.
To accomplish the stated goal, the pilot program launched at MNPS’s Pearl-Cohn and Maplewood High Schools on April 12, with the expectation to open up opportunities in June, July, September, and October for area residents ages 18 and older. In the first 10 days, jobs have already been secured by five students, with more expected.
Executive leaders from Nashville State Community College, TriStar Health, HCA Healthcare Foundation, and Metro Nashville Public Schools officially announced the program at an event on Nashville State’s White Bridge campus, with students and their parents, college administrators, faculty, and staff on hand.
The Patient Care Technician career pipeline program was created to respond to the demands placed on healthcare facilities due to COVID-19, promote diversity in healthcare professions, and open up a new pipeline to a lasting career.
“Through this strategic partnership, we are creating a direct and accelerated pathway to careers for those as young as 18 years of age in a high-demand field and industry,” said Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, Nashville State president. “As a workforce solution partner, Nashville State is excited to work alongside TriStar Health and Metro Nashville Public Schools to present opportunities that did not exist previously.”
“The patient care technician program creates a new career pathway for our students into an essential and growing industry,” said Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools. “We always want to see our graduates moving into good jobs that make a difference in our community and fulfill a need in Nashville’s workforce, and this program does just that. Thank you to our dedicated teams of educators at Pearl-Cohn and Maplewood and to Nashville State Community College, TriStar Health, and our other partners for all the work they’ve done to make this opportunity possible.”
Whether in a hospital, nursing home, long-term care facility, or a doctor’s office, technicians play a vital role in patient care. Working directly with patients and with nurses, technicians typically assist with managing food and liquid intake, monitoring vital signs, drawing blood, serving meals, and administering IVs, to name a few of their responsibilities. Being a technician can also serve as a stepping stone to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse.
“It is our privilege to collaborate with Nashville State Community College and Metro Nashville Public Schools to launch the Patient Care Technician career pipeline program,” said Bryan Sisk, Chief Nursing Executive, TriStar Health. “Patient care technicians are valued members of the healthcare team and play an important role in providing quality patient care. This new program will open the door to caring and motivated individuals looking for a profession in healthcare. These incredibly bright individuals are our future doctors, nurses, and other professionals that our patients and community depend upon.”
To be eligible for the program, interested persons must be at least 18 years old and pass background and drug screenings. Students are taught in a classroom and receive hands-on training in a state-of-the-art simulation lab at Nashville State’s White Bridge campus. During the three-week program, students will be assigned to a healthcare facility for clinicals, which provide hands-on learning experiences in a supervised and structured format, where students acquire the necessary skills.
Upon completing the free program, students will sit for a certification exam and have an opportunity to apply for a full-time position.
“We are very excited about this partnership, which is all about expanding access and opportunity to students who desire a career in a professional healthcare field and/or setting,” said Cindy Waller, PhD, RN, MSN, Nashville State Dean of Healthcare Professions. “Our first cohort of students from Pearl-Cohn and Maplewood have shown a tremendous level of curiosity and drive. They know this is a wonderful chance to get ahead and start working toward a career while still in high school.”
The HCA Healthcare Foundation, through the Nashville State Community College Foundation, in addition to federal CARES Act funding, is covering the cost of the training. The full list of partners includes Nashville State Community College, Nashville State Community College’s Office of Workforce and Community Development, Nashville State Community College Foundation, TriStar Health, HCA Healthcare Foundation, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and MNPS’s Academies of Nashville.