The American Nurses Association has proclaimed May as National Nurses Month. It is a time to honor the incredible contribution nurses make every day to support the health and well-being of our community. It is also an opportunity to recognize the scope and impact of nursing practice at all levels, from an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) to a Registered Nurse (RN) to a Licensed Nurse Assistant (LNA). This Health Talk looks at the importance and role of the LNA, as well as the “Grow Your Own” Program offered at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

If you have ever been a patient at Rutland Regional, it is likely you have been cared for by one of our skilled and compassionate LNAs. The LNA is a vital part of the nursing care team. LNAs play an important role in infection prevention by assisting patients with bathing and hygiene, they help reduce patient falls by answering call bells or sitting with patients who may be confused and support important parts of the nursing assessment by performing tasks such as vital signs, EKGs and finger sticks.

As we work to grow our health care workforce to meet the needs of our community, there is a focus on the LNA role as an entry into nursing. Last summer, Rutland Regional partnered with Stafford Technical Center to offer an eight-week accelerated LNA program onsite to “grow our own” employees. Stafford faculty provide high-quality instruction two days a week in a classroom at the hospital. Upon successful completion of the classroom lecture, skills lab and clinical rotations, the students are eligible to take the licensing exam and earn their LNA credential.

This program is available to Rutland Regional employees and community members who are interested in learning with us. The next cohort begins July 5 and Rutland Regional is opening up enrollment for this summer offering to high school and college students in the community (age 16½ or older). If you or someone you know is interested in applying, you can email rrmcnursing@rrmc.org for more information.

This week’s Health Talk was written by Amy Martone, director of Nursing Excellence at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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