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Nurse assisting program sees 100 percent pass rate amidst pandemic

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 24, 2020

College of Lake County’s (CLC) nurse assisting (NA) program is no stranger to creating a qualified workforce with historical passing rates of the certification exam in the 90th percentile. However, that is usually accomplished without a sudden shutdown of all in-person learning, which is what happened in March during the pandemic.  

Nursing Assistant ProgramInitially NA department chair and instructor Ruth Belec-Olander says her team was concerned about continuing learning that was traditionally done in person, but they persevered and began converting all of the courses to modified blended courses.

Photo: A nurse assisting student practices care techniques on a specialized mannequin

“We all supported each other and I was able to relay my support to the faculty. I did what I could for my teammates so they could be better instructors and I think they really felt it,” said Belec-Olander.  

The result: 100 percent of students who took the certification exam in August passed and certified nurse assistants (CNAs). At first glance it may seem like an unexpected result. After all, both students and faculty faced an unprecedented challenge in completing the program. Belec-Olander believes that’s exactly the reason students did so well.  

“Students became more responsible for their own learning,” said Belec-Olander. “We also invested in more support than ever before. We were able to build a stronger community with students so they felt they were more than just a number. I really feel that had a great part in it as well.”  

With the Spring 2020 semester behind her, Belec-Olander and her department were ready for the Fall and beyond. Keeping the program going is not just about their jobs nor their students, but about supporting the needs of the Lake County community.  

“If we did not continue we would not have any more healthcare workers,” said Belec-Olander. “For the bigger picture, the greater good, we need them out there continuing on as nurses or in the field working as CNAs.”  

Read more about this and other CLC nursing programs online


About College of Lake County: 

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.