Mercy Medical Center announces its fifth class of co-workers to graduate from the School at Work (SAW) program. With an increasing national shortage of nurses and other health care workers, SAW provides job advancement and career development for entry-level co-workers.
Since 2004, 68 Mercy co-workers have joined SAW – a program developed by Louisville, Kentucky-based Catalyst Learning to provide a career ladder. Today, 48 co-workers are SAW graduates. By providing SAW, Mercy emphasizes retention and advancement of entry-level positions into clinical, clerical and support roles.
“The SAW program at Mercy Medical Center gave me the impetus and confidence at the age of 65 to enroll in my local community college” said Patrick Cullen, 2008 SAW graduate. “I began to pursue a career in nursing and found the classes and the process very rewarding. My instructor, Dana Nichols, from the SAW program was always there for me with words of encouragement and advice.”
The SAW “Building a Career Ladder in Healthcare” program uses the internet, computer labs, DVDs and staff coaching to deliver instruction. Co-workers review basic reading, writing and math skills; improve computer proficiency; and study medical terminology, medical ethics, anatomy and physiology. Students also develop an individual career and learning plan to follow in reaching their goals.
In November, 19 students are targeted to graduate from the SAW program in St. Louis.
On a larger scale, 78 co-workers across Mercy’s four state service area – Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma – have graduated from the eight-month program this past year. Since 2004, a year after the program got its start, Mercy’s investment in SAW career development totals more than $260,000 with 187 graduates.
“SAW impacts co-workers lives in many ways” said Dana Nichols, Mercy Medical Center’s SAW coach. “It not only provides co-workers access to a health care career path, but boosts their confidence as they fine tune academic skills and learn new information along the way.”