By Steve Walker (Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist)
In the past I have been employed as a part-time Adjunct Instructor at the Alamo City College District (ACCD) located in the Edgewood School District.
Housed on SW 40th Street in the former Lincoln Elementary School campus, ACCD took possession of the building and still offers a number of students with limited education, vocational skills and GED classes. Students came from the Westside and all parts of town to take classes on the campus seeking better employment opportunities with higher learning.
As one who spent a year in the Edgewood School District in the 80s at La Memorial High School, I am acutely aware of the need to provide those additional opportunities for many growing up in the Westside of town.
It was exciting to say the least. For me it was a sort or reunion with the area in which I taught those many years ago.
Imagine my surprise when I began my tenure at the ACCD campus expecting to teach a GED class and discovering my schedule had been changed to working as a support teacher for a class of nursing assistant students.
Instead of GED, I was about to be exposed to the career path of someone wishing to work in a hospital, nursing home, in- home care, or a doctor’s office!My second surprise was learning that six of the eight students in the class were from Mexico and at various levels of English proficiency.
My students were between the ages of 24 and 48. The youngest student was a skilled Nurse in Mexico and was training on her nursing assistant’s certification to be employed here in San Antonio.
Part of my job as the support instructor was to create various worksheets by highlighting the various chapters in the student’s work books to make it easier to comprehend the material for tests.
The best part of the class for me was the opportunity to practice along with the students the very skills taught by the nurse who wasthe lead teacher. A Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) for 34 years, Cynthia Ball was really proficient at what she did.
Being an active part of the class, I took someone’s blood pressure, pulse, heartbeat, and oxygen level. For me it was a whole new world! I also learned how to properly drain a bedpan, how to give a partial sponge bath, help someone out of a bed into a wheelchair and clean a catheter.
The students also practiced on me to sharpen their skills set as well. It is good to know on a consistent basis my vitals are consistently good considering my age!
We even visited a nursing home on the campus of Incarnate Word University to shadow nursing assistants in their daily routine of administering to their residents. I received my Master’s Degree at Incarnate Word in the 70s.
For me it was a new learning experience being a part of higher learning for others and me. Hopefully I will remember those skills when someday I find myself in one of those nursing facilities. But then again, what is the hurry?