Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a best-fit school for grades 9-12, not only supports students with barriers, but also places an emphasis on ensuring students enroll in college or enter into a career that offers a living wage post-graduation. To achieve this, the school often finds intuitive ways to support students’ career development. The certified nursing assistant (CNA) course offered through Indy Met is a perfect example.
“Our student population has always had an interest and wanted certifications in the medical field,” said Shannon Brown, assistant principal at Indianapolis Met. “Being able to earn a certification keeps students engaged in their academics. They can access employment as soon as they graduate.”
For Jasmine Jones, a recent graduate of Indy Met, the CNA course was a great opportunity.
“I have a passion for helping people, especially the elderly,” Jasmine said. “When their families can’t be around, I want to be the person there for them.”
The CNA course at Indy Met began in September 2022, with classes and labs being held within the school. One of the biggest challenges of providing the course and supporting the participants was getting students to their clinicals, which included supervised interactions with real patients in a healthcare facility.
“Students had to be there at 6 a.m., so it was important to secure transportation for them,” said Brown. “They had to give up their fall breaks and be ready to leave home around 4 a.m.”
Though a specific bus route was created to transport students, transportation wasn’t the only barrier for students to attend clinicals –many were young mothers who required childcare. Indy Met students are able to receive free, onsite childcare while they attend classes, but the staff opened early to support those students who were attending their clinicals.
Completing the course work and preparing for the state exam was challenging as well. Students had to memorize in-depth caregiving information such as infection control, eating restrictions and elderly abuse –everything they needed to pass the Indiana CNA exam.
“The course was self-paced, so I felt like I needed more support,” said Jasmine. “We had a group chat to help us with homework.”
However, as tiring as the clinicals could be, there were many memorable experiences. Jasmine felt rewarded by the work and atmosphere.
“It was nice to see the patients interact,” said Jasmine. “Everyone was so friendly! Those little things pushed me even more to pass the course.”
In October 2022, Jasmine passed the rigorous state exam on her first try, earning an in-demand certification – and she became a model graduate of Indy Met at the end of the semester. Naturally, she feels accomplished.
“I’m just really proud of myself,” Jasmine said, “I doubted myself through the course final and the state exam – it was scary. But passing gave me the confidence I needed.”
Currently, she’s applying for positions as a CNA. However, in the near future, she wants to attend college and major in nursing to become a travel registered nurse.
“As a nurse, you’re taking care of people who can’t help themselves,” said Jasmine. “I can really make a difference in their lives.”
To learn more about or enroll in Indianapolis Met, visit indianapolismet.org.