Saturday, September 26, 2015

Talk About a Career Pathway: From EMT to LPN to COTA!

At BSTC, we are fortunate to have many outstanding graduates, and Kelsey Maass, JFHS '09 BSTC '11 is one of them!  Ms. Maass is currently a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA), and she got her start in healthcare in our EMT and LPN programs.  When asked about her success, Ms. Maass shares this about BSTC:

"The high school programs introduce you to real life/hands on experience at an earlier age and honestly help prepare you for future careers, job opportunities, and also college.  You really have the upper hand taking those programs prior to graduation...The LPN program is a great option for those wanting to go back to school, and it opens the door to great jobs."  

Now, Ms. Maass is a graduate of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, '15, with an associate of applied science degree as an occupational therapy assistant.  After completing our LPN program, she began work as a triage nurse with the Orthopaedic Center of Central Virginia.  With this experience, she was an attractive candidate for the Jefferson College's COTA program, and now, she has additional credibility with other health care providers thanks both to her training at the Jefferson College and at BSTC.  She senses that her background as a LPN and an EMT gives her colleagues, including certified healthcare technology specialists (CHTSs), occupational therapists (OTs), and medical doctors (MDs) additional confidence in transitioning patients to her caseload.

Ms. Maass praises our programs for their strength in developing work ethic and professionalism, skills she needs to demonstrate in the workplace every day that were also developed in association with the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA).  "I also loved that HOSA was offered--it really introduced me to situations where I had to learn professionalism and presentation," she notes.  Ms. Maass also gained valuable background knowledge that helped her with her COTA coursework in our programs, particularly basics that helped her in college anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and physical dysfunctions courses.  This makes sense:  Ms. Angela Beasley, Director of the Bedford County School of Nursing, shares that she recommends students interested in any form of health care consider or nursing programs to gain valuable clinical experience and prerequisite knowledge. 

Safety is the First Priority: Special Thanks to Bedford Elks

Students at BSTC were very fortunate to receive a donation of over 200 pairs of safety glasses from Bedford Elks Lodge 2844. These glasses are valuable supports for many educational programs at the center including but not limited to Building Construction, Electricity and Cabling, Automotive Technology, Automotive Body Repair, Cosmetology, and Building Management. "As safety is always our first priority, we greatly appreciate the club's very generous donation. Our teachers and students are very pleased," says Mrs. Kim Halterman, BSTC leadership.

All of the students at BSTC receive specialized safety training with many earning their OSHA 10 Hour Safety Card, a valuable industry credential. Students are also required to know industry-specific safety practices, including, for instance, proper practices for sanitizing beauty tools in cosmetology. BSTC is fortunate to have the support of many community stakeholders in advancing the importance of safety including but not limited to the Bedford Elks and our local Lowe's Home Improvement store.

The glasses are in use as students begin many exciting projects for the year, including construction of a Habitat for Humanity house, and continue their preparation for work, military service, and college.