Whitehouse High School prepares students for nursing program

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 1:08 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2022 at 9:27 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The pandemic may have highlighted and emphasized it, but the need for healthcare workers has always been an important one.

Several high schools around East Texas are preparing seniors for those careers, even before graduation.

Whitehouse High School is one of a select number of schools in East Texas that has a health science program.

The program offers two options, giving seniors the ability to become certified nursing assistants or certified pharmacy technicians prior to graduating high school.

“It’s been a hands-on experience learning more about people and how to help them and just taking care of them and how to just help ourselves and our growth and humanity,” said one of the certified nursing assistant students.

The certified nursing aid room has hospital beds donated by CHRISTUS Mother Frances and UT Health Systems to train nurse aides.

Pharmacy tech students have access to an IV therapy room and a fully stocked mock pharmacy with real bottles and fake medicine.

“To be able to get hands on experience in the lab with a real bed, some of them maybe with a mannequin, with a vital sign machine to work on the computer or whatever it can be, it really helps prepare them for what it’s going to be like when they get into the hospital or healthcare environment,” Chief Nursing Officer at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital, Shelly Welch said.

Hospitals around the country struggled to retain nurses and other healthcare workers over the last couple of years due to COVID. Welch said CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital is actively hiring to get back to that baseline staffing level.

These health science programs prepare students to meet the growing demand of hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

“They’ve already got a set of skills so it’s much easier to orient them into the acute care hospital environment,” Welch said.

Between the two health science classes offered at Whitehouse High School, they have nearly 40 students. The students took the test to become certified with the state, and for the first time had a 100% pass rate.

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