Health Assisting

Health Assisting

The Health Assisting Program exposes students to a wide variety of health care career opportunities in the health care field. It also provides students with skills to allow them to enter into the health care field directly from high school as well as provide a solid academic foundation and skills base to further their education at the college level. All students are given CPR, AED, and First Aid training and are certified if they meet the American Red Cross criteria. Nursing Assistant, Home Health, Care of the Alzheimer's Patient and Medication Administration Program certifications are available to those students who meet the requirements of each governing agency. Students also complete their OSHA 10-hour card training.

Freshman Year


Students are given a brief introduction to the various careers in health as well as a comprehensive overview of the educational experiences and opportunities in the Health Assisting Program at Pathfinder. Through learning and using medical terminology, experiencing some hands on activities and an introduction to some of the theory behind the skills we perform, students are able to evaluate whether a career in health care is for them.


  • Classroom: Students are introduced to the health care field by learning about infection control, childhood illnesses, abuse and neglect, nutrition, safety, communication and growth and development. Medical math has been added to grade nine to provide additional reinforcement of basic math and concepts and the use of critical thinking through solving word problems. Students complete an entrepreneurship project which allows them to develop mastery of the skills in the Management and Entrepreneurship Strand of the Vocational Frameworks. Students also strengthen their computer skills and use of technology.
  • Clinical: Students spend one day a week at a child development center and observe children from infants to school age. Here they are able to observe the different development milestones, infection control practices, nutrition, the value of play, and to understand the importance of being a positive role model. Students also spend an additional day during the week at an assisted living facility assisting with activities. At this site their goal is to becoming more comfortable interacting and communication with the elderly.
  • Related: Students will become acquainted with standard medical abbreviations which will prepare them for their sophomore health career exploratory in the acute care setting. The students will also complete a research paper and will be able to determine valid versus invalid data and sources. The students will produce a three to five page paper about a childhood infectious disease following the MLA format. The students will learn nutritional requirements from birth to preschool and produce a healthy menu following the fool pyramid guidelines. This project is part of their child care entrepreneurship project.

Sophomore Year

Students job shadow in approximately ten different departments in two local hospitals, and explore first hand what career opportunities are available to them in health care and what these jobs entail, including education needed, job description, pay and career ladder.

Junior Year

  • Students receive Nursing Assistant training and clinical experience at a local nursing home.
  • Students are responsible for assisting residents with all activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, feeding, and toileting). When students finish their junior year they will be eligible to take the state CNA exam.
  • Students will learn how to properly use a large assortment of medical tools including stethoscopes, thermometers, mechanical lifts to assist immobile patients, wheelchairs, scales, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Senior Year

  • Students may choose to go out on co-op(obtain employment in the health care field) or they will remain in shop and receive training in four main areas: home health, medical terminology, medical records and medication administration.
  • In home health they take the skills and training they learned as CNA's and apply that knowledge to the home care setting. SAMM (Self Administered Medication Management) will be taught in class and observed during clinical. They will obtain certification upon successful completion of the home health curriculum.
  • Students receive a full college level course in Medical Terminology. Learning the language of medicine will help prepare them for entering any health career as well as to expand their vocabulary and understand of body systems and diseases.
  • The third area is an introduction to medical records. They will becoming more familiar with establishing and maintaining patient medical records, filing, simple bookkeeping and front office skills as well as simple medical screening typically performed in a medical office setting.
  • The final area is a MAP (Medication Administration Program) training course. Those desiring certification will be eligible to take the state exam upon successful completion of the state requirements. Having this certification will allow them to obtain employment with the Department of Developmental Services or the Department of Mental Health in group home settings.

Health Assisting Instructors

Ms. Donna Bartlett RN
Mrs. Darlene Nykiel RN
Ms. Caitlin Phelps

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