Willoughby-Eastlake Schools offers medical training programs


By Patricia Nugent

For every window sign and yard flag you see paying tribute to our heroes during the pandemic—from nurses to hospital workers and first responders—there is a path they followed to get there, including hands-on training in a clinical setting.

In addition to causing a demand for more nurses and healthcare workers, the pandemic has also created a slew of unexpected challenges to clinical training and internships.

We caught up with Lori Klonowski, who is Director of Adult Programming at the Northern Career Institute, NCI, in Willoughby, to find out more. The school offers programs in Nursing-LPN, Medical Assisting and Medical Billing and Coding.

“We carefully choose clinical opportunities in clinical settings that are Covid-free, which means that at any given time, a clinical site or internship experience may need to be changed,” she says. “Having flexibility is key to providing students with the safest and most comprehensive experiences.”

In overcoming the current challenges, she is in constant contact with her advisory board and clinical sites.

“On the upside, Covid-19 has forced me to reach out to new clinical sites to add as optional sites,” she says. “We recently partnered with University Hospital Richmond Heights to provide additional experiences in outpatient care and the laboratory for phlebotomy experiences for our LPN and Medical Assisting Programs. Another new partner is Cedarwood Plaza as a clinical site for the LPN program, where students are able to provide direct patient care, procedures such as wound care, and medication administration.”

In terms of demand, she says the highest vacancies are for medical assistants. That program kicks off in February 2021 and provides laboratory and on-the-job training.

“All of our medical assistant students have successfully passed their credentialing exam and most have been offered employment directly from their internship experience,” says Lori.

With many people out of work and thinking about career changes, she notes there has been quite a bit of interest in the healthcare programs.

Look for these monthly stories to cover topics from grades K-12 in the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools System. For details, visit WESchools.org. For more information about NCI programs, call 440-283-4300 or visit NCIOH.edu.