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Slicers take on nursing at AK Smith

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LaPorte High School has many amazing programs and opportunities for students to explore–one of them being the AK Smith Program. It has many opportunities for students to get work experience in trades such as welding, firefighting, and hairdressing to name a few. One opportunity that offers hands-on real world experience is the nursing program. 

The AK Nursing program is based in Michigan City in the AK Smith building, where the YMCA and Elston building is. Nursing students commute at 7 a.m. to the AK Building and begin their day. Normally, their day consists of practicing tasks to become CNA’s and working in the lab.

“Usually, the instructor tells us what we’re doing for the day and then we can test out and go to the lab,” senior and second-year AK Smith Nursing student Kennedy Phelps said.

The students learn about the medical field and what they can pursue after they leave the program.

“We normally learn about situations in the medical field and different types of jobs because it’s not just one specific job,” senior and first-year AK Smith Nursing student Celeste Cervantes said.

AK Smith Nursing is broken up into two years. The first year is an introduction into nursing while the second year is more hands-on and prepares students for the medical field. Since the first year is an intro course, there is no prior knowledge needed to be in the program. Though there are no prerequisites to be in AK Smith, students are still required to be passing all of their classes at their “home school” as well as complete their tests in AK Smith. 

AK Smith’s nursing program doesn’t just stop after high school. Once students finish up the requirements in their second-year of AK Smith nursing, they receive their CNA certification. With this, they have many opportunities to explore the medical field. 

“You could go to college. Usually, you already have your credits, and once you go to college, you’re more prepared, and you already have experience. You can also work but it depends on what job you want to do,” Cervantes said.

With a CNA certification, students can work as soon as they graduate from high school, if not sooner. 

“You can go to nursing homes and you can pretty much work at any hospital. You are the underwing from the nurse or the head person of that floor. You have to report to the head person for everything. You can move people, but you’re not allowed to prescribe them anything. You’re pretty much a caretaker,” Phelps said.

AK Smith’s nursing program has a new addition for students to get real experience working in a hospital. They recently have adopted rotations at the Franciscan Hospital in Michigan City where they will be able to shadow nurses and doctors, which is a great opportunity for students.

Students are exposed to all types of jobs in the medical field, not just nursing.

“The nursing program provides hands-on experience into the medical field. They don’t just talk about nursing, they talk about all different kinds of health careers like X-Ray technician, pharmacy, and more, which I think is really cool. They also get the college credit, so they get a step up in the game if they want to be a healthcare worker,” Ms. Goss, the AK Smith instructor, said.

Programs like these are not always available at other schools so students at AK Smith have stated how grateful they are to be able to get a headstart on their future. 

“It is an incredible program to be in. It helps you get ready for college and the real world when you want to get into the medical field and I am so grateful that this is an opportunity for us at school because I didn’t really understand it when I was a freshman but after I had friends in it, I realized it was an amazing opportunity and I am so glad that I did it,” Phelps said.

AK Smith has provided many opportunities for students to explore career choices for the future. They are able to get hands-on experience, while seeing up close what it is like to be a nurse in America today. 

To get into the program, students must apply when they are scheduling for the following year’s classes.

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