Sponsored by the Montana Health Network, Holy Rosary Healthcare offers an Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) program for college students entering their senior year. The program gives students real, hands-on experience to prepare them for what they will encounter in the medical field.
Students in Holy Rosary’s program rotate between several different units including extended care, medical surgical, the emergency room, the ICU, a week in the walk-in clinic, the choice between the operating room or obstetrics, and the choice of all units for their last week of the program.
“This program really benefits both the hospital and the students,” said Trevor Swan, Holy Rosary Healthcare’s Critical Care Manager. “Similar to an interview process, the UAP program helps us gauge where the nurses are at professionally, what their strengths are, and which area they may be most successful in. This also gives them a chance to better understand Holy Rosary as a healthcare entity and gives them a real-world perspective of what direct patient care entails.”
When students apply, they choose their first, second, and third choice for hospitals and are chosen based on an interview; Holy Rosary is one of twelve hospitals in the state that offers the program. Prior to being accepted, they must first pass courses in Adult Health and Pharmacology at their respective universities. This year, three of the four students in the program are enrolled in Miles Community College, but students throughout the state of Montana have the opportunity to apply for the program.
“I have absolutely loved this program. It has been so nice to keep practicing the skills I have learned, as well as learn some new ones,” said Miranda Hurr, a student at Miles Community College and UAP program participant. “It has helped me become even more familiar with different medications, as well as different lab values, and what their results mean. I feel anyone who is in nursing school should try and do this program. It has really helped me realize that this is what I want to spend my life doing.”
Students cannot be enrolled in classes during the period that they are part of the UAP program. Prior to being accepted, applicants must also submit a letter of recommendation from a class instructor and write an essay explaining why they believe they are qualified for the program. Once accepted, the students begin the 12-week Unlicensed Assistive Personnel program, where they will work 20 hours a week in this paid internship.
“The UAP program has let me experience the nursing role in several areas from long-term care, ED, ICU, Acute Care and Surgery, giving me the opportunity to have an idea of what area I may want to work in after graduation,” mentioned Amber Ferris, a second year nursing student at Miles Community College and UAP program participant. “The nurses that I was able to work under were amazing and have the caring spirit and attitude to help us nursing students succeed. I had several ask me questions like "what would you do in this situation?" and value the opinion given. This has been a very beneficial hands on way to work on my skills in a real life setting and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
The overall goal of the program is to teach students the best practices and experience of different aspects of healthcare and hopefully retain and recruit them to Holy Rosary’s team after their completion of the program. Since Holy Rosary began offering the program, 91% of the students who have participated in Holy Rosary’s program were offered a position following their program completion and college graduation.
To apply for the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel program, visit montanahealthnetwork.com.