Continuing the pursuit: bilingual healthcare graduates one year later

Last fall, sixteen students completed Preparados en Salud, Kansas City’s first bilingual healthcare training program, and earned certified nursing assistant (CNA) credentials. Now, less than a year later, nine of the Preparados students have gone on to pursue licensed practical nursing (LPN) credentials, the next step on the nursing career ladder. 

Three students who graduated from the LPN program in July sat down to talk with us about their career aspirations and how the Preparados program is helping them realize their dreams. 

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Christian Delgadillo, 23

Christian Delgadillo (photographed, second from left, with his family) is a native of Colombia and moved to Kansas City twelve years ago. 

In July, he completed the LPN certification program at MCC after having completed the CNA certification through the Preparados en Salud program in 2012.

“The Preparados program was very helpful,” Christian said. “I needed a lot of help with math and basic science, and it was an opportunity for me to seek my career.  It opened up a wide range of options.”

This spring, Christian will apply for MCC’s registered nursing (RN) program, the third step on the nursing career ladder. He is preparing by taking a microbiology course at MCC and applying for jobs. With his LPN credentials, he is confident that he will find a position.

Christian, who hopes to work in pediatrics or labor and delivery, said that he appreciated the active learning component of the LPN program.

“It was fun from the start. It was hands-on experience, not just book work,” he said. “It’s my first step in becoming a nurse.” 

 

Elizabeth Diaz, 23

Elizabeth Diaz, a Kansas City native, had already earned her associate in science degree when she signed up for the Preparados program, so she had a lot of pre-requisites under her belt. 

The Preparados program bridged the gap from her general degree to more advanced nursing programs, she said. Through the program, she was able to earn the mental health technician certificate, patient care certificate and learn medical terminology. 

After earning her CNA credentials in 2012, Elizabeth started working as a CNA at Truman Medical Centers, a job she enjoys. 

“I am learning a lot,” Elizabeth said. “They let me watch and help whenever possible because they know I am applying for the RN program.”

Elizabeth completed her LPN credentials in July and plans to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). Her hope is to some day become a nurse anesthetist. 

 

Sandra Doolittle, 42

Sandra Doolittle was born and raised in Colombia and moved to Kansas City eight years ago. When she arrived, she spoke Spanish and Japanese, but not English.  She enrolled in an English as a second language (ESL) program at MCC, where she obtained her GED, and then went on to earn an associate in arts at MCC-Maple Woods. 

Sandra received her CNA through the Preparados program in 2012, which she felt was instrumental in getting accepted to the RN program this fall. 

“I love education, and I love MCC,” said Sandra.  “It’s a great place—great facilities, great instructors.  I’ll be so sad the day I have to leave these buildings.”

After earning her RN degree, Sandra plans to pursue a BSN and eventually, a master’s of science in nursing (MSN). 

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Preparados en Salud was created in 2012 to meet the demand for bilingual healthcare workers in the region.  The program is the result of a partnership between the Full Employment Council, Metropolitan Community College’s Institute for Workforce Innovation, the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, Jewish Vocational Services, and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). Truman Medical Center and Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics provided input about employer needs. The program was inspired by the Carreras en Salud model, a bilingual healthcare training program based in Chicago.

Students enrolled in the MCC’s Preparados program receive short-term healthcare job training and preparation for admission to MCC’s practical nursing program.  Training includes CNA certification, academic and workforce preparation and practical nursing pre-requisites. 

The second group of Preparados students completed coursework in May, 2013. In partnership with the Full Employment Council, preparation for the third class is underway. 

For more information about the Preparados program, contact Dr. Manuel Solano by email or by calling (816) 604-1020.