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New nursing assistant course to begin at SCHC in March

The first class to finish the new nursing assistant course at SCHC gathered for a photo Dec. 20. Both daytime and evening classes will be offered to meet the needs of all students in the area. The next class starts Monday, March 20, 4-9 p.m., at the SCHC. (Submitted photo)

St. Croix County Health Center

Carol Poppy, a certified nursing assistant instructor and an employee at the St. Croix Health Center in New Richmond, has announced a new nursing assistant program at the St Croix Health Center.

"There is a huge shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in Wisconsin, as well as many other states (including Minnesota)." Poppy said.

"CNAs are needed in many different health care settings, such as long-term care facilities, rehabilitation units, hospitals, home care, community-based residential facilities (CBRFs) and assisted living facilities. One thing many may not know is that the students will be learning at the SCHC alongside staff that have been working here for 20, 25, 30 and even 35-plus years. These employees bring sought-after longevity and experience to their work. They are knowledgeable and committed to providing positive contributions to their field," she added.

"As an example, I am the instructor and I have 36 years of nursing experience in multiple health care settings. I am proud to say I both teach and work for SCHC. This keeps me current with my skills and, more importantly, helps me to teach and demonstrate to my students what real life nursing is all about. I have taught a lot of students over the last eight years in both Wisconsin and Minnesota of many different ages, backgrounds, and learning needs.

"The SCHC NA program is unique in a few ways, notably both the classroom and clinical experience will take place right here at the SCHC and our maximum class size is eight. This small class size allows me to give much more individualized attention to each student for skills practice and in preparation to pass the Wisconsin state exam. Additionally, the SCHC is an all-new facility that is quite beautiful, but I think of that as just a small perk since it is truly the people inside working who make this facility shine. I have found that many students are surprised at just how much they love the work. Health care, though undoubtedly demanding, really is such a rewarding occupation. There is no better feeling than hopping in your car at the end of the day and knowing how much you just helped someone who really needed you," she said.

The courses run for approximately four to five weeks, depending on the hours per day, but total the state required 120 hours. The process of registering for this class is simple and it can all be done by phone or online on the Century College website. A two-step TB test (required for anyone to work in a nursing home) and caregiver background check are done during registration, both of which are covered in the registration fee. Books and supplies are provided by Century College.

Both daytime and evening classes will be offered to meet the needs of all students in the area. The next class starts Monday, March 20, 4-9 p.m., at the SCHC.

More information about the nursing assistant class being offered at the SCHC may be found on Century College website ( or by phone at 651-779-3341.