Wawasee Schools nursing program give students head start

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WAWASEE, Ind. -  This week on The Learning Curve we are diving deeper into a type of learning that’s proving more difficult during this pandemic. We head to Wawasee Community Schools in Kosciusko County, just about an hour southeast of South Bend and we are focusing on hands-on learning. 

“I really do feel like what we do we have an impact on people's lives. So then this honorable, I mean, I feel like I'm honored to be doing that," Randi Warren, a Registered Nurse and Health Science instructor at Wawasee Community Schools said.

We went inside the nursing class where students are learning how to properly clean their hands and put gloves on. The class is now more important than ever.

“Oh, that's without a doubt. Yes. Without a doubt. These students my goal to become the teacher here was to work beside them someday," Warren said.

Warren started the Wawasee's Pathways nursing program.

"Since it started in the 2018-2019 School year. So it's a relatively newer program," she said.

The program, being fairly popular especially now.

“So we had 17 students last year and we have 32 this year," she said. "It almost doubled."

Warren has years of experience as a nurse and currently works in Goshen hospital.

"I became a nurse in 1994. So I've been working since then, as a nurse. So 20 some years 20 plus years," she said.

She worked as a teacher and nurse even when the pandemic went into full swing this past spring. It's something that is risky for her health.

"I personally have an immune deficiency. And so part of the reason to become a teacher was maybe I wouldn't be exposed as much. And when this started, I actually called my doctor and said, okay, so, you know, those people at risk, I don't want to stop working. Like, I want to be there. There's some part of and that's also part of the reason I haven't stopped working as a nurse is that I ultimately love being with my patients," she said.

"We have teachers who are teaching these courses who have years of experience in the field, they understand the safety that it takes to run their classes well," Geoff Walmer, the Principal at Wawasee High School said. 

Walmer speaks of experience teachers like Ken Long, the Welding Instructor.

“I was a welder and fabricator for 30 plus years," Long said. “Personal Protective Equipment is incredibly important in this field. If you're not careful, you'll get hurt. But when they've got their welding hood down, and they're not near one another, we've been fairly successful, I would say in keeping them apart and just keeping them working.”

“I tried to work out of one toolbox. So that enables me to spray down all the desk all the seats and all the tools in one toolbox after each class is as came through," Derrick Fisher, the Marine Mechanics Instructor said.

"I felt like the first week or so I was like the, make sure your nose is covered nazi and, and, you know, use your hand gel so we're not transmitting because we want to stay here. We want to be with the students in I think the students really want to be here," Warren said.

“Many of these students and parents understand that if they were out of high school working in the autos field, they would be going to work every day. And they would, they would have precautions that they put in place. And so we're treating it that way as well," Walmer said.

“We, you know, want to keep the distance and we want to limit the time that they're actually together when they're together when they are in groups. And we want to keep the groups like that are within proximity of each other instead of, oh, this person with that person, we want to keep them isolated together. So we're if somebody does get infected, we're isolating the infection. So yeah, there are things that are constantly on our mind," Warren said.

"We're adjusting to it, we're handling it. And, you know, we're still being able to educate students and just seeing them come through the doors, and I know they're ready to be back at school," Fisher said.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding your school reopening, reach out to LearningCurve@abc57.com and we will look into it.

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