At Pickens Technical College’s Practical Nursing program (in the Health Pathway), you’re learning the many responsibilities and actions required of a licensed practical nurse, who assist registered nurses, physicians, and doctors in their care for patients and in their organization and administration.
Being a practical nurse, as you must know by now, will not be easy. You’ll be expected to be an expert or close to it on many, wildly different health issues for patients. In many scenarios, you might be the first and last face patients see when they come in for treatment. There will be no shortage of responsibilities other health professionals will lean on you for in your practical nursing career.
The flip side of those responsibilities is a wealth of opportunities in the healthcare field. Colorado, as you know, is a state booming with job opportunities in healthcare. If you can successfully brand yourself on the job market, you will have your choice of specialties and healthcare organizations to work for as a practical nurse.
One possible career avenue is in maternal and infant medicine, with government programs spreading around the country focused on improving infant mortality and childcare.
Two years ago, the home visiting national program was in trouble. The United States’ House and Senate were in disagreement over how to fund the program at the state level. But a new budget deal earmarked $400 million to the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
At the moment, nurses and practical nurses don’t have to worry about budget cuts (although they may have to worry about possible future government shutdowns). And the results of these programs are extremely promising. Medical professionals looking for a start in early childcare, pediatrics, and maternal-infant medicine could do worse than by helping mothers at home.
Home-visiting programs are exactly what they sound like. A medical professional experienced in child and infant care visit new mothers in their homes to check in and make sure their newborn is properly cared for. The home visitors give mothers their expertise in how to care for their infant, from how to properly hold the baby, to how to feed them, and everything all mothers need to give their babies the best start in life as possible.
The national program, operational in all 50 US states, was intended to reduce short-term and long-term harm to children born to parents with at least one of five risk factors for unsafe homes: having an infant under a year old, an income level below the federal poverty line, being a mother or a pregnant woman under the age of 21, being single, and possessing less than a high school education. According to some research, almost 4 million pregnant women or families met at least two of those five criteria.
The opportunities for practical nurses in this program are immense. In addition to helping vulnerable mothers (particularly mothers of color), you could start your career in the growing field of child health and childcare services. This is a field that will need as many skilled practical nurses as possible in the coming decades. Read more about Colorado’s MIECHV programs here.