Health Assisting


Program Description

Pathfinder’s Health Assisting Program exposes students to a wide variety of healthcare career opportunities. The program provides students with skills which will allow them to enter the healthcare field directly from high school. Students also build a solid academic foundation and skills base to prepare them for furthering their education at the college level. All students are given CPR/AED for the healthcare provider training and are certified if they meet the American Heart Association criteria; they will maintain certification throughout their career at Pathfinder. Certified Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide, and Care of the Alzheimer's Patient certifications are available to students who meet the requirements of each governing agency. Students also complete their OSHA 10-hour (Healthcare) card training.

Grade Focus

9th Grade:

  • 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.
  • Students work with medical terminology, experience hands on lab activities and are introduced to some of the theory behind the skills they will learn.
  • Students are then able to evaluate whether an experience in the health assisting program is the right path for them.
  • Students are introduced to the healthcare field by exploring the history and trends in healthcare, and by learning infection control, cultural diversity, abuse and neglect, nutrition, safety, communication, growth and development and medical abbreviations.
  • Students become familiar with the professional expectations of the health program. Medical math provides additional reinforcement of basic math concepts and the use of critical thinking through solving word problems.
  • Students also strengthen their computer skills and use of technology through research and classroom projects.

10th Grade:

  • Students study anatomy and physiology to gain a deep understanding of the structure and functions of the human body and the impact of the disease process.
  • Medical terminology and medical abbreviations are furthered studied and technical writing is explored as students complete a research paper focused on a disease of their choice.
  • Students earn their OSHA-10 hour General Industry (Healthcare) card.
  • Students career shadow in approximately ten different departments in a local hospital. They explore the diversity of career opportunities which are available to them in healthcare and learn the preparation required for each.
  • Students begin to develop technical and professionalism skills.

11th Grade:

  • Students are assessed on their abilities in certain skill areas including personal care skills and the use of items such as stethoscopes, thermometers, mechanical lifts to assist immobile patients, wheelchairs, scales, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Theories and concepts of caregiving are formally delivered - building on previous knowledge - as students complete official Nursing Assistant training and enjoy a 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 receive enhanced training to care for individuals with Alzheimer’s/Dementia which is aligned with state standards.
  • The home health aide portion of the curriculum encourages students to take the skills and training they learned as CNA's and apply that knowledge to the home care setting. They will obtain home health aide certification upon successful completion of the home health aide curriculum.

12th Grade:

  • Students may choose to go out on co-op (obtain employment in the healthcare field), participate in dual enrollment (enroll in college courses), or remain in shop and receive training focused on three main areas: medical terminology, professionalism, and college preparation.
  • Students receive a full college-level course in Medical Terminology. Understanding the language of medicine helps prepare students for all health careers and expands their vocabulary and understanding of body systems and diseases. Connections made between anatomy, pathophysiology, and the context gained during their clinical the previous year reinforce content. New skills are explored to further enhance understanding.
  • As students navigate their last year at Pathfinder, a number of professionalism skills are highlighted. Students will practice for job interviews, perfect technical writing, prepare career portfolios, examine and practice customer service skills in healthcare, and create a success plan for after graduation.
  • Another major focus is preparation for college-level study. A group project will encourage students to fine tune the skills they need to compete in college including: researching, documenting resources, creating presentations in multiple mediums, leadership skills, teamwork and communication skills.

Health Assisting Faculty