Officials and faculty from Alvernia University, Reading Area Community College (RACC), and Reading Hospital’s School of Health Sciences (RHSHS) are putting their heads together in order to help students navigate their collective and comprehensive Community Health Education programs.
“The idea is to break down barriers that students might find when transitioning from one program to another — not just between the schools — but also between specializations such as Certified Nurse’s Aide and a Registered Nurse,” says Alvernia Provost Dr. Shirley Williams. “Our RN-BSN program needs to be in sync with both RACC’s associate degree and RHSHS’s nursing diploma program so that students can made a smooth transition from one institution to another if they choose to continue their education. In addition, we must provide information to the individual who is in an Emergency Medical Technician’s program who may not only wonder what other opportunities in health care are available, but what additional skills or education are required.”
Coordinated by RACC President Dr. Anna Weitz, provosts, deans, and other officials have met several times to look for bumps in the road. Now, more than 20 faculty members from the three institutions are breaking down program offerings even further.
“We’re looking at all healthcare programs the institutions offer, from certifications, to master level degrees,” says Alvernia Dean Karen Thacker, Ph.D. There are currently 54 programs offered among the three institutions: 33 clinical, 11 office and technology services, and 10 affiliated health and human Services like counseling and social work. These programs range from non-credit certificate programs at RACC to master’s degree programs at Alvernia.
After separating the programs in to three main categories, faculty members will look at fundamental skills for each group and look for core needs.
“We’ll start from the ground-up, and will eventually have smooth processes for students who choose different paths through the healthcare education program."
The group’s end goal is to have a totally blended dual enrollment program. Students would pass seamlessly between the three schools to a degree in their chosen healthcare field.