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Debra Conway, director of continuing education at Penn State Hazleton, is ecstatic about the new programs her department is offering in the upcoming year.

“Penn State Hazleton’s practical nursing and allied health programs of clinical medical assisting, nurse aide, EKG (electrocardiogram) and phlebotomy were initiated to support workforce development and to address the statewide nursing and allied healthcare shortage,” she said. “With courses offered during the day, evenings and weekends, the programs are designed to be flexible and meet the needs of anyone who wants to pursue a career in healthcare while still working.

“We decided to respond to a variety of healthcare needs in our community by establishing a career ladder with different options for those who want to work in the field. Our program offerings provide the necessary education for someone to become a licensed practical nurse, nurse aide, clinical medical assistant, EKG technician or phlebotomist.”

The mission of the Penn State Hazleton Practical Nursing program is to provide a high quality non-credit certificate program, delivered through a part-time, evening and weekend curriculum, to prepare individuals with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes essential for practical nursing practice and the knowledge necessary to pass the NCLEX-PN. This 18-month evening and weekend program consists of classroom and clinical curriculum, with all programming done under the supervision of qualified nursing instructors.

The mission of the Nurse Aide (NA) program is to prepare students to provide safe and therapeutic care in the role of a nurse aide. Students are then prepared to take the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Test. Upon passing the Competency Evaluation test and gaining a position in long-term care, the graduate will be added to the PA Nurse Aide Registry. Job opportunities are prevalent with long-term nursing facilities. This is a 128-hour program with an additional five-hour CPR course certificate program. The program is a 27-day course with 15 days spent in classroom instruction at Penn State Hazleton and the remaining 12 days in a clinical setting at either Weatherwood Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center or Hometown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

The nurse aide program is designed for individuals seeking enrollment on the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry. Upon successful completion, students will have the skills necessary for the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide written (or oral) examination and skills evaluation, the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP).

The Clinical Medical Assisting (CMA) program helps to prepare students to function as professionals in multiple healthcare settings.

Medical assistants with a clinical background can perform various clinical tasks including assisting with the administration of medications and with minor procedures, performing an electrocardiogram (EKG), obtaining laboratory specimens for testing, educating patients and other related tasks. Job opportunities are prevalent with physician’s office, clinics, chiropractic offices, hospitals and outpatient facilities. This four-month evening program consists of 140 hours of classroom instruction at Penn State Hazleton. Individualized clinical practice, up to 160 hours, follows the classroom instruction. The goal of the CMA program is to prepare students to assist physicians by performing functions related to the clinical aspects of a medical office. This course covers the following key areas and topics: clinical responsibilities of the medical office – assisting the physician with patient related care; preparing patients for examination and treatment, routine procedures and diagnostic testing; HIPAA, patient confidentiality, legal aspects of healthcare and regulatory patient care issues; recording and taking of vital signs, blood pressures and other patient care items related to the physician office visit; review and administration of medications, allergies and other pharmacology related items; laboratory procedures, phlebotomy and the proper techniques required to collect specimens for laboratory analysis; cardiology and the proper placement of leads when taking a 12 lead EKG.

Students in the Electrocardiograph (EKG) technician certification program learn to complete and analyze electrocardiographs (EKG) and will be eligible to take the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) Electrocardiograph Technician (EKG) exam and/or other national certification exams. This comprehensive 50-hour EKG technician certification program prepares students to function as an EKG Technician. Electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians can perform diagnostic tests to aid doctors in identifying and treating cardiovascular problems in patients. These tests help detect irregularities that may result in a heart attack or heart disease.

The mission of the Phlebotomy Technician program is to prepare students to function as an active part of the laboratory team.

This comprehensive 90-hour phlebotomy technician program prepares professionals to collect blood specimens from clients through venipuncture and capillary sampling for the purpose of laboratory analysis. Students will become familiar with all aspects related to blood collection and develop comprehensive skills to perform venipunctures completely and safely. Phlebotomy technicians or phlebotomists are medical laboratory technicians whose primary job duty is to draw blood from patients. Some phlebotomists work in physician offices and focus primarily on securing blood samples for testing. Others phlebotomists collect blood from donors to be placed in a blood bank for later use.

For more information on these or other programs offered by Penn State Hazleton’s Office of Continuing Education, visit or call 570-450-3110.