OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Health & Well-Being
The Children’s Wellness Center
Healthy Communities Clinical Assistant Training Program
The Children’s Wellness Center (CWC) is a school-based health clinic created in partnership between the Del Valle Independent School District and the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, in affiliation with People’s Community Clinic. The CWC is the only provider of pediatric health care services in the Del Valle area. The children and families served by the clinic are predominantly Hispanic, low-income, and medically underserved.
CWC’s plan for their Healthy Communities Clinical Assistant Training Program was to recruit fourteen high school graduates from the Del Valle area to receive education and training towards a career in health care while being mentored by professional nurses.
Program participants were enrolled in a formal nurse assistant program and then employed at CWC for six months where they worked one-on-one with a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, mastering skills necessary to the nurse-assistant role and assisting the CWC in treating additional patients. The program also provided the young students assistance in locating resources for additional education to pursue a career in health care.
Of the 30 young adults recruited for this program, ten completed it in its entirety, finishing their formal educational program and receiving 540 hours training and mentoring onsite at CWC. Four others completed a significant portion of the program but left before finishing their hours. Five recruits completed the coursework but never started training at the CWC.
CWC management reported that the extremely unstable situations of the young people participating presented far more significant challenges than they had anticipated. Family responsibilities, the need to produce income and provide for children and siblings, and the lack of transportation, were only some of the overwhelming barriers the participants faced. The CWC staff provided as much flexibility as possible, setting schedules and hours on an individual basis. Even so, three were not able to finish because of issues such as these and one determined that health care was not the right profession for her.
CWC had to deal with the additional challenges of training young adults with little work experience. The staff had to break down tasks into very small steps and develop additional training material with extensive, detailed explanations. The CWC staff coped remarkably well, finding new ways to bring education and training to the participants. Their flexibility and enthusiasm worked together to make this program a success.
CWC expresses thanks to the community agency partners who were another important contributing factor to the program’s success. In particular, Capital IDEA helped recruit, vet and interview potential students. Goodwill, Del Valle Opportunity Center and Del Valle High School also helped refer young people to the program.