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Need a job? Be a nursing assistant

With a shortage of workers in the medical industry, Detroit Lakes Adult Basic Education is trying to get the word out about medical career opportunities and prepare students for upcoming courses.

ABE is offering a pre-certified nursing assistant class to prepare students for future certified nursing assistant courses. The class will help students learn medical jargon, local opportunities, regulations and more.

"Minnesota has such a shortage of health care workers," instructor Kris Rutchi said.

Pre-CNA classes started with a huge population of English as a Second Language people "to prepare groups to make them more employable." Now, pre-CNA classes are encouraged for anyone interested in the profession.

"It's to develop some interest in the health care field," she said.

Rutchi, who has been involved in the healthcare field for many years, said she felt it was time to get involved with volunteering her time and teaching this class.

"I saw the notice in the paper and thought I have time I can volunteer to do that," Rutchi said.

Nursing and teaching is nothing new for Rutchi. She has been a nurse for 25 years, working 18 years at St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes. She also taught 10 years at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College.

She has been working for the last four years as a public health nurse for White Earth, and taught in the nursing program for two years at the reservation college. She is certified in geriatric nursing.

She said the pre-CNA class teaches medical terminology -- "It's a whole new language." -- rules, regulations, job descriptions and boundaries. She also will take students to local nursing homes for tours and to speak with nursing staff employed at the homes.

She said the class is to give students an idea of "all the career opportunities out there. It's not just CNAs."

Opportunities, some with extra schooling, can include occupational therapy assistant, hospitals, clinics, group homes, personal care assistants, dialysis and more.

"This might even expose them to wanting to go to EMS school," she added. "There are many, many opportunities in our community."

Jobs are opening up and the aging population is opening up more and more jobs.

"There has been a huge shortage in health care for at least 10 years."

Baby Boomers are getting to the age they are in need of health care, and they are also retiring, leaving the shortage, she explained.

"There are millions of volunteer opportunities, in smaller communities too."

Rutchi said she's "really excited" about the class. This is her first time teaching through Detroit Lakes ABE.

Detroit Lakes Adult Basic Education teaches a free Pre-CNA class starting Tuesday, Oct. 14, and running for six weeks. The class will meet at the Minnesota State Community & Technical College on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Call 218-847-4418, Detroit Lakes Adult Basic Education, for more information or to pre-register.