COD Offers Basic Nursing Assistant Program in Westmont

By Mike McKissack

Beginning in October, College of DuPage will be offering the Basic Nursing Assistant (BNA) certificate program at the Westmont Regional Center, 650 Pasquinelli Drive, Westmont.

According to Andrea Liedtke, College of DuPage Regional Center Manager, the decision to move the BNA program off-campus comes in response to the success of the program and a growing need in the workforce. 

"Part of the reason for the move was that the BNA program has been so successful that it needed more space," said Liedtke. "The Westmont Regional Center was able to quickly address that need and, given its convenient centralized location, it was the perfect choice."

The program's success not only validates the quality of the program, it also reflects the need for qualified professionals in the workforce. In recent years, the health industry has been experiencing a shortage of qualified Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs). According to Associate Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Dr. Vickie Gukenberger, the shortage is primarily due to a few factors.

"There is an aging population of baby boomers who increasingly need the type of care offered by CNAs," Dr. Gukenberger said. "Coupled with advances in health care that have led to a current average lifespan of nearly 78.7 years, as well as the expected huge increase of insured patients under the Affordable Care Act, it's clear that there will continue to be a strong need for nurse assistants and medical professionals well into the future."

Dr. Gukenberger added that there is a broad range of job opportunities available to students who complete the BNA program at College of DuPage.

"This is a very flexible program," Dr. Guckenberger said. "After earning their certification, students can enter the workforce immediately or use the program as a stepping-stone toward earning associate's, bachelor's and even master's degrees. In addition, many professionals who already work in health care enter the program to broaden their skillsets and increase their professional marketability."

The BNA program at College of DuPage, approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH),  provides both classroom and practical clinical instruction on the basic nursing skills required to assist professional nurses, including body mechanics, communication, infection control, observation, resident's rights, safety and vital signs, as well as exploration of geriatric and Alzheimer's patient care. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to take the certification examination managed by the IDPH to become a Certified Nurse Assistant.

Successful completion of this program is also a prerequisite for students who plan to apply for entrance into the college's Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program, as well as the Practical Nursing (PN) program.

Click here for more information on the BNA program at College of DuPage.

The Nursing Department at College of DuPage also offers an A.A.S. in Nursing degree program which is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC).. The College's ADN program has been approved by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation/Board of Nursing and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). An advisory board made up of industry professionals helps ensure that the curriculum is kept up-to-date with the needs of today's employers. In addition, College of DuPage has partnered with local Benedictine University and Governors State University to offer students a streamlined and affordable approach to earning bachelor's degrees in nursing through articulated 3+1 transfer programs.

Click here for more information on the Nursing Department at College of DuPage.

Students interested in any of the nursing programs offered at College of DuPage are required to attend an advising session as a first step toward entering the program.

Click here for more information about upcoming BNA advising sessions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of medical assistants is expected to increase by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020. The BLS also reported that medical employers are expected to increase support staff across a variety of disciplines by 2020, with projected employment growth in certain areas reaching as much as 70 percent as in the case of personal care aides. 

For more information on any of the Nursing programs at College of DuPage, call (630) 942-8433.