This spring, the Mount Wachusett Community College Physical Therapist Assistant program students were in danger of a delay in their graduation due to the lack of clinical placement sites. The lack of clinical placement impacted all health students, with the impact on physical therapist assistant students more pronounced due to fewer facilities available in the area.
In early 2021 Margaret Jaillet the Dean of Health Professions, Public Service Program & Social Sciences needed the services of the Care Central VNA for a family member. The visiting physical therapist from Central Care VNA turned out to be a friend and colleague of the Dean, Eileen Hurley.
Following the visit, Jaillet and Hurley were discussing the challenges the pandemic presented, preventing students from completing their clinical rotations. Hurley suggested that the VNA may be able to help.
Within days of that conversation, meetings were taking place and the rehabilitation team and the Director at Care Central VNA, Kristin Mattson, Jennifer Scampini and Lisa Waller, were coordinating with their staff to participate. Numerous Care Central VNA clinicians agreed to mentor students, many agreeing to take concurrent students if needed.
“The Care Central VNA rehabilitation team did a fabulous job and I could not be more appreciative,” commented Jennifer Gentile, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education at MWCC. “Many students expressed how grateful they were to have this unique educational experience.”
“I was a little hesitant to accept the idea of finishing my clinical experience in the home health environment. My heart was set on a skilled nursing facility experience,” stated PTA student Daniella Caetano. “As I’m reflecting on the past seven weeks, I realized that I’ve grown to absolutely love home health care and I can see myself working in this setting in the future.”
Thanks to the help from the Care Central VNA team, students were able to complete their final clinical rotations and have been awarded their degrees. They will sit for their state licensure exam in October.
“These students can get on with their lives having completed their educational journey and moving onto their career paths,” stated Dean Jaillet.
Students who successfully completed their clinical rotations with the help of Care Central VNA are Younglan Cho of Acton, Alexandra de Melo-Shay of West Boylston, Matthew Robertson of Tewksbury, Ruth Honthumb of North Brookfield, Shannon Caira of Orange, and Daniella Caetano of Leominster.