TORI J. NORRIS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
Butler County students have the opportunity to attend the Butler County Career Academy to learn about different workforce careers after graduation. One of the popular programs is the health sciences program with approximately 60 students enrolled.
Taught by Ms. LaTronica Gavin, who is a former school nurse in the Butler County school system, the health sciences program has been in place for three years. “Students learn a wide variety of skills,” said Ms. Gavin. “Vital signs assessment, positioning and transferring of patients, blood drawing and professional communication skills are just a few.” Students will also receive CPR, first aid and AED training.
The career pathway that the students enter when they choose health sciences begins in 10th grade and will carry the students through their senior year. During their senior year, students can enroll in the Patient Care Technician credential course.
In its second year, the PCT credential is a great opportunity for Butler County students. “When students complete this course, they will be eligible to take the national PCT test,” said Ms. Gavin. “When they pass this test, they will have the PCT credential and will be able to be a nurse’s assistant in a hospital.”
Students who enroll in this course and pass the national credential test could earn around ten dollars an hour, right after high school. “This is a good thing for our students,” said Ms. Gavin. “I had the opportunity to be a PCT while I went to nursing school and I am able to share my experiences with my students from several aspects of nursing care.”
“It is important we get a realistic feel while learning skills,” said Lindsay Nichols, senior student at Greenville High School. “Being in the PCT class and being a PCT while in nursing school is the route I plan to take. I think working as a PCT will give me more experience as I am working toward my nursing degree.”
Students also gain a sense of responsibility when they receive the credential. “It says a lot for someone to hire an 18 year old with this credential,” said Ms. Gavin. “I stress to them that having a license has a great deal of responsibility and it can be taken away from you.”
In addition to the class work, students also can join Health Occupations Students of America.
This student organization allows students to build leadership skills, compete in skills competitions at the state level and participate in community service activities.