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The Pickens Technical College Nurse Aide pathway puts students on course to pursue careers in the medical industry, which is booming in our state with more jobs being added almost daily. The course prepares you for the Colorado State Board of Nursing Certification Exam, which is your key to your start in the industry. You’ll get a mixture of in-class and clinical practice in which you can learn and hone your skills until you’re ready to take the test and start your new job.

One of the reasons why the healthcare industry is booming right now is the emphasis on electronic medical records (EMR). EMR allows physicians and other medical professionals to easily transfer patients between one another and usually makes for quicker, more efficient treatment. There are downsides to this emphasis, and wrinkles in transferring all medical practitioners over to this new, high-tech system, necessitating an influx of data management specialists and others to manage all the new information.

EMR is becoming more streamlined and used to convey more information than ever before, however. As a nurse aide, one of your primary duties will be to make sure that each patient’s EMR is up-to-date and accurate. One program at a U.S. Veterans’ Affairs hospital in Madison, Wisconsin has added quite a bit of information to patient EMR that could be coming into civilian use in the future.

The My Life, My Story Program

The My Life, My Story program began at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in 2013. Under the leadership of Thor Ringler, the program sent volunteer writers to visit with veterans at the hospital. Their mission: to record the life stories of the patients in their medical records, where their doctors, physicians, nurses, and yes, nurse aides can review them. The goal was to give patients a voice in their own medical records and add more about their personal history and life to give healthcare professionals more information.

The real goal wasn’t to provide details that patients’ previous records didn’t indicate, however, according to Ringler, who said about traditional medical records: “If you were to try to get a sense of someone’s life from that record, it might take you days.” Ringler credits the inspiration for My Life, My Story to a former medical resident at the Madison VA, Dr. Elliot Lee, who, in 2012, wanted to find a new, faster way to get new doctors more familiar with their new patients. He said the patients themselves might be able to add some detail to their own medical records. After all, who knows their history better than themselves?

The Future

It will be a long time before civilians will record their life stories for their medical records. There are too many issues with healthcare in Colorado and the United States to handle first. But, encouraging patient input in their medical records could be the start of a new trend that one day leads to more EMR being made up of patients’ own words, allowing medical professionals like you to learn even more about the people they’re helping.