An initiative of Meridian CUSD 101
Jill Bosecker shares that teaching nursing has renewed her spirit for the career field. After working as a school nurse in Cairo for the last decade, Shawnee Community College finally persuaded Jill to accept a position as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) instructor, a position she’d turned down countless times. “I’ve never been in the classroom before. This was all new to me,” she shares, admitting, “I thought I might hate it. But instead, I love it.”
Jill served on the Meridian school board for ten years and understands today’s students’ needs. She shares that the community needs programs like hers and the carpentry program that was also recently established. If you’re curious about nursing, Jill considers the certification course a great way to test the waters. She believes in the philosophy so strongly that she required her daughter, who is now a successful nurse, to enroll in a similar program first.
“Teaching this course has changed my life. It’s renewed my spirit in nursing. I’m just excited. I have a great group. They want to be there; they want to learn, and I’m teaching them a life skill. When they graduate, they can start making money right away. Recruiters are all over them now. We need CNAs so badly. They will graduate and make a decent living right out of the gate.”
While the experience has changed Jill’s life, it’s also changing the lives of twelve other students, all juniors and seniors at Meridian and Cairo High School. If anyone understands the program’s power, Jill does. She graduated from Meridian in 1993 and completed a similar program through Tamms Vocational-Technical School.
Nine of the twelve students who enrolled in the course are from Meridian. They spend the first two hours of each day in the classroom, preparing for clinicals, which will be held at the Anna Veteran’s Home starting in March. The students will spend five Saturdays at the nursing home, gaining valuable hands-on experience by transitioning from classroom learning to real-world experience.
Jill shares that a recruiter visited her classroom the day before, offering to hire the students, on the spot, for a strong starting wage. The recruiter clarified that this was a pre-certification offer and that the hourly pay would increase by several dollars per hour once they’d earned their CNA certification.
“I didn’t start off as an LPN making that,” says Jill with a smile. That’s good money. That can put food on the table.”
Upon graduating, the students can work as CNAs full-time or use their certification as a foothold to work part-time while going to nursing school. A pair of students enrolled in the program to gain valuable medical experience to pursue veterinarian degrees.
Regardless of how the future unfolds for Jill’s students, this experience can provide them with financial resources to get there. “It’s a really good start. It’s a really good opportunity,” says Jill. After all, Jill took a high school level CNA certification course two decades ago, and it’s continuing to open doors for her and many others.