Nursing students at iTECH work on team building skills. (Submitted photo)
Are you looking for a challenging career? Do you want to make a difference in the world? You don’t have to look any further than “your own back yard” by taking advantage of the career opportunity to graduate as a licensed practical nurse from Immokalee Technical College A new class of students aspiring to become licensed practical nurses began their course of study this January at Immokalee Technical College. Requirements to be accepted to the program are stringent. One must possess a high school diploma, achieve required scores on two standardized tests, write an essay, and interview with iTECH’s Health Sciences Coordinator, Cynthia Hantzis, who asserts, “Nursing is not just a job. It’s a career and a calling. You need to be compassionate and dedicated. I look for the candidate who projects confidence and professionalism. Our focus is to train our students to be safe and competent practitioners.” The student nurses start with Introduction to Healthcare. “They learn to be part of a team. Licensed practical nurses work in conjunction with doctors, certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, family members, the public and other medical staff,” says Ms. Hantzis. “Team building skills are a must.” Hand washing, infection control, body systems, disease processes and pharmacology are a few of the other units in the program which give the students the knowledge to help patients and their families achieve a high level of health and wellness. Students practice on computerized mannequins that can be programmed to simulate patients suffering such emergencies as a stroke or a heart attack. Real world experiences are an integral part of the program. The students spend half of their time in the classroom and half in clinical settings like hospitals, assisted living facilities, and Health Network clinics. They also participate in local health fairs, Department of Health events, and the Lions Club eye screenings. Junia Monpremier, an iTECH nursing student and Immokalee native, saw how the hospital nurses in the neo-natal intensive care unit helped her son who was born prematurely. “When I watched the nurses, it inspired me. It made me want to help people get better,” she reflects. “I plan to become a pediatric nurse.” “I became a diabetic at 13 years old and had to check my blood sugar. That got me interested in endocrinology,” said Alejandro Arreguin, another nursing student born and raised in Immokalee who also has an interest in pediatrics. Prior to joining the iTECH team, James Leavor, instructor for the nursing class, was a nursing specialist who worked as an inspector for healthcare facilities. He enjoys teaching. “I like helping to teach the students how to give good patient care in a safe and compassionate environment.” Students who attend iTECH graduate free of student debt. For information on any of the 16 career programs at iTECH, financial aid, and how you can enroll, call 239-377-9900 and ask to speak to an advisor today.