Introducing: The New “Big Stick” On Campus


Alexya LaFleur, Writer

“Okay, 1.. 2.. 3.. Big Stick!”
The new Advanced Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) student has just began her schooling in phlebotomy; you just happen to be on the receiving end of her big, sharp needle.
The 2018-2019 school year began the start for the new Advanced CNA program. This is also the first full year for Health Science Teacher and Registered Nurse Sara Tahaney at West Orange-Stark. When she first joined the CTE staff the program was failing.
“When I first got here, the program had pretty much been run into the ground, to say it nicely. There were no rules in place, no order, it was chaos. I literally walked into a program that essentially no longer existed,” Tahaney said. “Once the students realized that I meant business and I was here to stay, they came around. It was re-building the program from the ground-up that was and still is one of the biggest struggles.”
This new program is similar to the old; the students still attend LSCO for Basic Nursing for the first semester their of senior year. They attend the Meadows Senior Care Centers for clinicals. Clinicals test the abilities that the students have learned during their time at LSCO and ensure they are capable of performing them for certification. For the second semester, the advanced students attend LSCO again for phlebotomy. Phlebotomy is learning how to draw blood from someone, for example, when you need test done at the hospital and they draw blood. They also take an online nutrition class. Once the students become certified they will be allowed to work in many different healthcare setting.
“We take the same basic nursing class and program as the traditional students, to acquire our certifications,” Senior Abigail Stephens said. “The difference is that we are also enrolled in an online nutrition course as well as a phlebotomy course, and can graduate with our phlebotomy certification in addition to our CNA certification. We will have 10 college credits from the advanced CNA program when we graduate high school.”
The students were chosen to take part in the program based on a grades, attendance, discipline, and teacher recommendations. Students had to meet all criteria and have taken the previous required courses.
“ After all criteria is scored, the top 10 were selected for the advanced CNA program. We look at all this criteria because there is a very strict attendance policy in the college setting, and we know that we want to represent West Orange-Stark in the best way possible,” Tahaney said. “We must give careful consideration to those we send to represent our program and school district. I have worked extremely hard in the little time I have been here to make this an outstanding program, and I will continue to hold these students to a high standard.”
This program is new and thriving with the help of great teachers, determined students, and loads of support. The students in line behind the 2019 seniors have big shoes to fill.