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Sat, Oct. 19

Certified nursing assistant school prepares students

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Sherril Longmuir, owner of Yavapai Healthcare Academy, a certified nursing assistant school, shows one of the two simulated hospital rooms that students use at the school. A mannequin named Grandma Chase sits in the corner.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>Sherril Longmuir, owner of Yavapai Healthcare Academy, a certified nursing assistant school, shows one of the two simulated hospital rooms that students use at the school. A mannequin named Grandma Chase sits in the corner.

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Sherril Longmuir, a registered nurse who has worked in the field since 1984, has chosen a growth industry for a new business venture: a school to train certified nursing assistants, or CNAs.

Longmuir said she decided to open Yavapai Healthcare Academy here because she realized a number of her students at a CNA school where she taught in the Phoenix area commuted from Northern Arizona. An aging population also has created more demand for CNAs and other health-care workers.

She opened the school this past September at a former law office at 7749 E. Florentine Road, Suite B.

Longmuir, who moved from Janesville, Wis., to Phoenix in 1987 with her two sons, said she started this past Sept. 13 with three students.

Since then, 90 students have graduated from the 124-hour program, and 30 students currently are attending classes, Longmuir said.

The classes last three weeks if taken during the day and five weeks for evenings, Longmuir said. Students range in age from high school to people in their 60s, and a quarter of them plan to continue their educations to become RNs.

The program covers all the requirements to becoming certified as a CNA, Longmuir said. The 21 required skills include transferring patients from beds to wheelchairs or from wheelchairs to beds or bathrooms, learning how to operate mechanical lifts, and helping with feeding, bathing and dressing. Longmuir and Mai Nguyen, an RN, teach the classes.

The school contains a resource room, two skilled labs, a classroom that seats 12 people and a break room, Longmuir said. Each lab contains a hospital bed and many tools of the trade, such as walkers, wheelchairs, dining trays, bedpans and a stethoscope.

The resource room has a photocopier, computer and a library.

After students finish the class, they must pass an exam that the Arizona State Board of Nursing requires, Longmuir said. It contains 75 questioned timed to be answered within 90 minutes and hands-on demonstrations of four skills, Longmuir said.

The skills include proficiency in tasks such as how to use a bedpan, Longmuir said. Students test their skills on actors whom the board hired, each other and a mannequin named Grandma Chase.

Completion of the class and passage of the exam prepares students for CNA jobs with hospitals, schools, day care centers, medical offices, assisted-living centers, hospices, in home health care and in other venues, said Longmuir. She said the school has a good placement rate, with jobs paying $10 to $15 an hour.

"My goal and my motto is to make a difference in our communities providing good health care to those who need assistance," Longmuir said. "And it is not just for pre-nursing students. It is for anybody who wants to make a change. It is a short investment for a long-term profession."

For more information, call the school at 775-0525, or log onto its website at www.YHCAedu.com.

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