By Ron Supan
Nursing leaders from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Hospital have partnered with a successful job-training program to fill much-needed clinical associate spots at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The Hopkins partnership with the Caroline Center, named the “Best Job Training Program” in Baltimore Magazine’s “Best of Baltimore 2004,” began last fall, notes Eileen Leahy ’78, development director for the Caroline Center. To date, over 800 Baltimore women have completed skills training through the center.
“This program focuses on valuable job training for unemployed and underemployed women of Baltimore,” notes Leahy of the center, which was founded in 1996 with the support of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The center provides participants with communications skills and basic computer training; career counseling; training in computer applications, health care, pharmacy tech, child care, or upholstery; and mentoring. Women have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or GED.
At Hopkins, leaders decided to recruit the center’s certified nurse assistant (CNA) alumnae, with at least one year of experience, for training and employment as clinical associates. Clinical associates provide skilled clinical support to patients at less cost than RNs. “I supported the center and I linked Karen Haller [Vice President of Nursing at Hopkins Hospital] with the center staff. It was this meeting that resulted in the partnership with Hopkins,” says assistant professor Jo Walrath, PhD.
“After the partnership was settled, we decided to adapt a curriculum we had and looked to a couple of our nurses to serve as instructors,” says Pamela Paulk, Vice President of Human Resources at the hospital. Michele Steinhauser, RN, MS, former nurse educator for Hopkins Hospital, organized the program, and current hospital nurse educator Margo Preston Scott, RN, MSN, was the first lead instructor. “It was felt that if the instructor was a Hopkins nurse, students would be more successful at the completion of the semester since the Hopkins nurse could teach the essential skills per [hospital] protocols and procedures,” says Scott.
“This partnership is a model for a multi-organizational cooperation,” says Paulk, noting that others involved in getting the partnership launched include Sue K. Donaldson, PhD, RN, FAAN, Caroline Center board member and past dean of the School of Nursing; and Deborah Dang, RN, MS, Director of Nursing Practice, Education, and Research at Hopkins Hospital.
Program funding is organized through a combination of Hopkins Hospital funds, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development funds, and the Federal Department of Labor grant funds (Project REACH). Although the Caroline Center mostly serves women, men may become Hopkins employees in the Clinical Associate program. Presently, both male and female graduates are working together at Hopkins Hospital.
Says Haller: “Nine Caroline Center alumnae started the Clinical Associate program last fall, and eight graduated, which is the highest pass rate for any Clinical Associate training program to date. Students attended 100 percent of the clinical training days, and were a pleasure to have in class.” Currently, there are 14 graduates from two sessions who are working at the hospital.
Paulk adds, “The CAs who have gone through this program have been very successful, and we are proud to have them as employees here caring for our patients.”