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How To Make Your Life Easier As A Health Science Instructor

"HealthCenter21 is a great supplement to the materials we already have. It's a great way to check a student's understanding of things. It's a great supplement and it gives you additional ideas for topics you are covering."

Throughout the year, we talk with hundreds of health science instructors in secondary Career and Technical Education programs throughout the United States. A frequent question we receive from health science teachers is, “Is HealthCenter21 another thing I have to add to my already busy schedule?

At AES, we know one big challenge for a health science instructor is not having enough time. While a Registered Nurse is an expert on the content, they lack experience in classroom management, lesson planning, curriculum mapping, grading, and many other tasks a teacher performs on a daily basis.

Jim Schultz traveled to J.W. Mitchell High School in Florida and spoke with health science instructor Beth Bruegger and Barbara Donaghy, the District Health Science Program Coordinator, in Pasco County. During the visit, Jim learned how HealthCenter21 has helped these educators in many ways, such as: differentiation, meeting standards, certification preparation, saving time with lesson planning, and providing up to date content.

Meet Beth and Barbara:

Beth Bruegger’s career began in the health care industry as a nurse at a hospital then transitioned into home health nursing. She has been teaching medical skills and other health science courses to high school students for over 15 years.

“I’ve been teaching for over 15 years now. This is the only school that I’ve taught at [J.W. Mitchell High School].

I’m a registered nurse, so I was doing my nursing stuff first and did various things when I moved here to Florida… I actually went and I worked at a CNA school. That was an adult program, so I did the Clinicals for the CNA program… Then I was here ever since. It kind of started with just the Medical Skills. I think that’s all I taught my first year, then we just kind of gradually grew the program.” – Beth

Barbara Donaghy, was a teacher, before becoming a Health Science Program Coordinator. She originally taught first grade and then later moved on to training for early childhood providers.

“I started teaching in the elementary school in 1974-75 . I have an elementary background. I’ve done a lot of different things over the years. I’ve worked for the state for a lot of years, and then I came back to the school system.

I was at Marchman Technical for 11 years, and then I transferred to the district and became an administrator, so I’ve been in my position as a Program Coordinator since 2005.” – Barbara

How To Differentiate Learning with HealthCenter21

Blended learning is something we hold in high esteem here at AES and is also what helps educators to differentiate their instruction for better student learning. Many of the teachers who use our health science curriculum use it as a supplement to their other instructional materials. We discussed this with the educators at J.W. Mitchell High School to learn how they use HealthCenter21 to differentiate instruction.

“I would say it’s a great supplement to the material that you already have, so it’s a great way to check a student’s understanding of things… It’s also nice that it gives you some additional ideas for things.” – Beth

The eLearning curriculum is formatted in a way that students today are familiar with; leading towards the large volume of online media accessible today and moving away from a textbook format. Health science instructors find that not only is it teacher-friendly, but it is student-friendly. HealthCenter21 gives the students the option to use technology in conjunction with traditional teaching methods. Because it is digital, more responsibility is on the students to learn the material, since they each go at their own paces.

Staying Up to Date with Industry Changes and Florida DOE Standards

Among the many topics discussed regarding what the teachers at J.W. Mitchell High School enjoy about HealthCenter21, they shared how nice it is to have a curriculum that is relevant and up to date with current health care information. This is in stark contrast with textbooks, using Barbara’s words: “They’re outdated when they’re published [textbooks].”

One way the health science teachers have found the constant updates to HealthCenter21 make a difference is with the changes to CPR guidelines from the American Heart Association in 2015. If an instructor was using a textbook to teach CPR, their material has become outdated if it was published prior to the changes from the AHA. HealthCenter21 was updated quickly to reflect the new CPR guidelines to ensure students were receiving correct information.

In addition to staying up to date as the health care industry changes, we make sure to stay current with changing health science education standards. Several of the Florida DOE Standards for health science are met by our curriculum. As part of our curriculum development process, we review national and state health science standards.

This ensures HealthCenter21 stays up to date and relevant to health science programs across the United States. Reviewing standards also gives us ideas on new topics to add to the curriculum. The instructors explained that they liked this aspect of HealthCenter21 for supporting the necessary standards they and other health science instructors in Florida must meet as part of their curriculum frameworks.

The Domestic Violence module released in 2016 is a great example of how we use standards as a base for our curriculum. Many of our users in Florida shared that Domestic Violence is a requirement for all health science programs in the state. The Product Team reviewed the requirements and decided that not only would that topic benefit educators in Florida, but health science instructors across the country would find it helpful.

Using HealthCenter21 as Certification Prep Materials

Beth discussed how they use the study guides that are available for some of the HealthCenter21 modules as resources to help their students prepare for certifications and/or any midterm or final exams they may create. Doing this has been beneficial as reinforcement as well as a review of the material. The instructors find that using the study guides and other extra resources in HealthCenter21 is the perfect way for studens to review.

“We’d use them [the study guides] and say, “Use this as your review.” If you know what modules you’re covering for our midterm, you can even run a practice test using AES. Just plug in which modules, and then it will generate some test questions, so I’d get them to do that for checking their understanding.” – Beth

The curriculum is also a benefit in being part of the certification prep materials used for exams, as pointed out by Beth:

“I have the Health Science Foundations class, and then my CNA kids. We also take the CMA stuff, and so I use it for that a lot. For the CMA I use a lot those modules for that.” – Beth

Saving Time with eLearning Curriculum for Health Science

Time is one of the biggest sacrifices teachers make and was referred to often throughout the visit to J.W. Mitchell High School. The interactive lessons, already created lesson plans, teacher resources, and automatic grading within HealthCenter21 help to make it easier on teachers.

This allows them to spend less time planning and grading, and more time interacting with their students, especially for new teachers coming from a health care career, rather than a teaching background. Here’s how Beth explained how HealthCenter21 helped her face these daily challenges:

“In addition to the daily requirements of just getting through the day, it’s all the school requirements. The meetings and the conferences and this and that...  AES - that’s something simple to follow where they could go in and have this course outline already kind of setup. Then they can add to that and not feel so overwhelmed in having to try to develop something on the side as well, because I know in the beginning you’re developing all this stuff.” – Beth

In addition to helping teachers save time, HealthCenter21 allows for more flexibility in both time and accessibility for students to go through their lessons. A student can pull up the program anywhere they have a device and an internet connection.

“The nice thing too, is that if they don’t finish it they can do it at home. They can go back if they missed an assignment… and do it at home as well too, which is the nice thing. You know, that they can always access their data.” – Beth

Time is something that we can never seem to find enough of, especially if you’re a teacher. But, if AES can save you a little time and effort, we will!
If you think HealthCenter21 will help you overcome challenges like the teachers at J.W. Mitchell High School, sign up for a free trial:

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