Nursing on the rise at West High

Nursing can be a long and tedious road to follow so many students start chipping away at it when they are in high school.

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, more simply called a CNA is the first step that every nurse has to go through to go any further. A CNA is a nurse that interacts with patients most directly. They are the main person who feeds, bathes, clothes and generally takes care of the patient. If a student wants to become a there are a couple of different options that a student can choose from that are all provided by the school. If they want to take a class that specializes in nursing at a college level, they could take a Kirkwood class. There are two options for Kirkwood classes that an aspiring CNA can take: the Patient Care Exploration course and the Pre-Med, Nursing, and Professional Health Careers course. While the Pre-Med course focuses on the basics needed for all jobs in the medical field, the Patient Care course focuses mainly on nursing and helping patients get through examinations and surgeries. Some classes that can be taken at the school, that are not connected to Kirkwood, are anatomy and physiology, sociology and a psychology class.

Anna Verry ’22

Anna Verry became a dietary aide at a local nursing home in May of 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was working alongside a lot of CNAs and nurses and while watching them work she developed a passion for nursing. Once this passion started Verry started looking into nursing more. “And so once my interest was sparked, I did more research into fields that could potentially suffice for my passion for wanting to help others and being a nurse in a CNA was one that came up and so I researched more into it and I really found that that’s the passion and the road. I want to go down,” said Verry. Her end goal for her career is to become a Registered Nurse or RN with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. She has decided that when she gets her CNA certification she will probably work with older adults and children. Currently, Verry isn’t taking any of the Kirkwood-provided courses for becoming a CNA but she is still developing her skills through some of the other classes such as anatomy and physiology class.

Lindsey Henkenius ’22

Nursing has followed Lindsey Henekenius for a long time. “My grandparents are both nurses as well as many of my cousins are pharmacists, athletic trainers, or nurses. I never really desired to be a CNA. I was not really introduced to what a CNA was until last year when I was going through the registration process for Kirkwood classes but I have known that nursing was an interest of mine since late elementary school,” said Henekenius. She developed this interest when her grandpa was in the hospital due to heart complications, and while he was there the doctors found that he had lymphoma. Through her grandpa’s treatment, Henekenius spent a lot of time with him. In turn, she spent a lot of time with the nurses there. Those experiences made her start to think about pursuing a career in nursing. Right now, Henekenius is taking the Patient Care academy at Kirkwood. After she finishes up her senior year she plans to go to the University of Iowa and major in nursing to get her Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Once she graduates college, she’s going to work for a bit and then go back to school again to get her Doctor of Nursing Practice. Finally, when she finishes that up she will spend the rest of her career as a Nurse Practitioner either in the emergency room or in the sports medicine clinic.