What’s Right with Schools: Health tech students learn real-world skills even during pandemic at Wilcox Tech HS

Whats Right With Schools

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — At Wilcox Technical High School, their health technology students would typically spend part of their year visiting clinical sites and getting hands-on real-life experience. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they weren’t able to visit the facilities and the instructors had to rework the curriculum.

From taking blood pressure to strapping a patient into a bed lift, the students were able to practice a multitude of skills right in their lab.  

Jennifer Ureta is the department head and she says the pandemic opened the students’ eyes: “The importance of being a health care worker, they really had to take on a new sense of responsibility.”  

Showing each student how important their field is. Ureta tells News 8, “Not just a nurse but any health care worker, its almost a calling.”  

Ureta is not only the department head, she is also a nurse herself, “I’ve been a nurse for about 29 years, so I’ve seen a lot in my career.”  

Of course, this year has stood out as one of the more challenging years. She now dedicates her days to molding our future nurses.

When the students leave Wilcox Tech, they are Certified Nursing Assistants.

Ureta says, “It gives them a little bit of an edge when they go to nursing school, they’re not touching a patient for the first time when they start nursing school when they have their CNA.” 

Because of the pandemic, Ureta and other instructors had to rework the normal curriculum and create a skills boot camp for the students to still get the hands-on experience they need.  

“We teach the skill then they practice the skill. Their peers sign them off and we have a checklist so they can follow correct instructions on how to do it safely,” Ureta says.  

Building their skillset as they make their way through high school and into their future careers.  

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