WASHINGTON, N.C. — Certified nurse aides and healthcare technicians were in high demand even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now vacancies have grown.

Rural areas with aging populations have high demand for nurse aides as the healthcare needs of their communities grows. On May 18, Beaufort County Community College (Beaufort) honored students from the nurse aide I, nurse aide II, and phlebotomy programs who achieved their certificates this spring. These healthcare tech classes are all now free thanks to a combination of and federal, state, and private scholarship funds.

Graduates of the nurse aide programs can provide personal care and perform basic nursing skills for elderly adults. Phlebotomy students learn to draw blood. Students participate in clinical internships as part of the program in locations such as Agape Community Health Centers in Washington and Williamston, Greenville Family Doctors, The Carrolton in Plymouth, and Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington.

For many of the students, these classes will give them credentials to start working in the healthcare field while pursuing additional certifications or a nursing degree. Some of them are adding additional credentials onto existing certifications.

Nine students finished the nurse aide I program, three completed the nurse aide II program, and three completed the phlebotomy program.

Micaiah Arthur, Nuyen Forster, Angela Gibbs, Valeria Hensley, Paquesha Reid, Phatema Riddick, Ebonne Rouse, Lauren Stephenson, and Jennifer Taylor completed the nurse aide I course.

Deloris Hogan, Yushika Gordan, and Ratreveyia Mustipher finished the nurse aide II course.

Graduates from the phlebotomy program included Suzanne Ambrose, Staton Chapman, Danielle Ward, and Kendall Wenteler.

Phlebotomy for Healthcare Workers starts on June 6, and Nurse Aide I Refresher starts on July 11. These two courses do not qualify for the Beaufort Promise due to their short length.

The next nurse aide programs will start in August, and the college will also offer EKG Technician for the first time this fall. These classes are free to qualifying students due to grant and scholarship funding. For more information about Beaufort’s healthcare technician programs, interested persons should contact Jackie Butcher, 252-940-6263.