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Ready to train and support our in-demand health care heroes

male practical nursing student in nursing simulation lab at Anoka Tech

“There is a desperate and growing need for temporary emergency staff across the state, largely due to staffing shortages created by the COVID-19 crisis.”

That was the opening line shared with some of the health care program faculty and staff at Anoka Technical College from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education on behalf of the Department of Human Services in late November.

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise the need for prepared, compassionate health care heroes also increases.

Anoka Tech offers 10 patient care programs preparing students to work in all areas of health care. With small class sizes and opportunities for hands-on learning, the fast-track patient care programs allow students to quickly get their bearings and graduate prepared.

Compelled to do more

practical nursing program alumni Rose Sommerfeld seated in front of Anoka Tech campus

Rose Dominquez Sommerfeld, a recent graduate of Anoka Tech’s Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program, transitioned from her position as a home health aide to a LPN at the Abbott Northwestern Hospital Heart Institute in February 2020.

Sommerfeld was introduced to Anoka Tech’s Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program by a colleague after feeling like she could be doing more with her skills and passion for patient care.

“I knew with everything going on in the world, the skills I learned at Anoka Tech could be put to better use,” said Sommerfeld, “I’ve been able to use what I learned in school and really help people.”

It wasn’t an easy transition; in fact, it was one of the most difficult seasons in Rose’s life. She was starting a new job, navigating homeschooling for three young children after school closings and, while onboarding into her new role, her husband was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Rose credits the training she received at Anoka Tech for being able to recognize dangerous symptoms in her husband early and get him the critical emergency care he needed to save his life.

“I don’t think anyone can be prepared for what’s happening now, but the things I learned at Anoka Tech have helped me to stay healthy,” said Sommerfeld.

An employer’s perspective

As an Advisory Board member of Anoka Tech’s LPN program and frequent employer of the college’s graduates, Nicoleen Meyer, vice president of clinical services at Accurate Home Care sees the difference in Anoka Tech students.

“Anoka Tech is an accredited program, which is important. It’s also affordable and offers a lot of quality clinical opportunities because of its location,” shared Meyer.

With a pause on elective procedures and increased caution around having anyone in our homes, Accurate Home Care saw a downturn in services in the spring. “We offer home care nursing, where a nurse works a full shift in one patient home, Personal Care Assistance, Homemaking services, and traditional home health to help ensure people can remain independent in their own homes,” describes Meyer.

But that downturn is picking back up as a higher priority is being place on keeping people out of clinics and hospitals. “Home health is a healthy setting, it’s more controlled,” said Meyer. And with the upturn in patients, Meyer said they want to hire Anoka Tech grads.

Become a health care hero

Spring semester begins Jan. 11. Learn more about Anoka Tech’s health science programs at: http://www.anokatech.edu/ProgramsCourses/HealthScienceTech

To learn more about COVID-19 emergency staffing opportunities visit: https://mn.gov/dhs/covid-staffing/

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