Prior to Duncan:
Originally, the Nursing Assistant program was administered through Regional Occupational Program, (ROP) which developed many career educational programs for high school students in conjunction with area high school districts. Fresno Unified was able to have the nursing assistant program on a part time basis at a separate location where other ROP courses were taught. Students were bussed to the career education school from their home schools for the part time classes. Mrs. Sharon Ritchie was the Director of the Nursing program and taught both the clinical and theory portions at that time. The Nursing Assistant program was the only program at that time and still is that had to meet the high expectations, rules and regulations of the California Department of Public Health. Prior to the mid-2000s it was the Department of Health Services.
The curriculum is written in conjunction with the California Department of Health services and area instructors- which required rigor, strict attendance regulations, minimum hour requirements and adherence to various policy and procedures. Each nursing program approved by the California department of Public Health have to be open to on site survey at any time, and each instructor is fully aware that being out of compliance with the state mandates is cause for closure of the course and revoking the approval.
In order for the Nursing assistant students to earn certification, they must be tested by an individual approved by the state to administer a written and a practice skills exam. The instructor for each student must agree that the student has met the requirements of the Department of Public Health. 100 hours of successful skills training and 60 hours of theory and pass 17 modules of study with a grade of C or better, to be able to take the CNA test.
In 1984, Duncan Polytechnical High School was established, and encompassed both academic and 'ROP" career courses. There was at a time five separate pathways at Duncan. Every junior and senior took career educational courses along with all the required academic courses for high school graduation. Many of these courses had an employment internship incorporated into community classroom component. Each student graduating from Duncan had college entry requirements met and also career education. Only the Nursing Assistant program students are able to qualify to test for a state certification and are NOT certified by the instructors. How well students perform on their certification test is a direct reflection on the instruction of the clinical instructors and clinical teacher. Duncan has proven to produce some of the top pass rates in the central valley.
In 1994 Duncan/ ROP added another nursing instructor, Laurie Wehner, RN. Sharon Ritchie a short time later, and Laurie became director of the program in 1998.
Duncan Nursing Services program continues to have high Pass rates with the state certification testing as well as several years of a 100% pass rate was achieved. Many Nursing Home facilities have requested Duncan students. This is a direct compliment to the training of the Duncan Nursing Services program. As many students will choose to work while going to college, it at times happens that a full staff of CNA's will all be past Duncan Nursing Services students.
In conjunction with Fresno City College and 4 other C.N.A programs the Future Nurse program was initiated. Students are chosen to belong to a co-hort at Fresno City College (FCC) and they travel through the perquisites for entry into the Registered Nursing program with mentoring.
California Air National Guard 144th Medical Squadron did a yearly 'Disaster Drill" in approximately 2000-2010. The squadron donated time, expertise in teaching field emergency medical response and gave much time and interaction to the nursing students.
Health Occupations Students of America and Skills USA were a part of the program for many years. Students took first place in many different competitions. Students of HOSA have competed in the National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. SkillsUSA students have competed in the National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
Johnsons and Johnsons Campaign for Nursing Future donated $5,000 to the program and audio and visual equipment was purchased for better instruction.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Duncan Nursing Program on the campus, and spent time in the classroom talking with the students and voicing his support of career education.
Laurie Wehner, R.N.
Medical Academy of Science and Health/ Senior Nursing Director