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State Grant Allows Ascension Facilities To Cross-Train Staff

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Ascension Health Care
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A collaboration between Ascension and two technical colleges is designed to get more trained workers to help meet local healthcare needs.

The state announced a grant of $112,000 last week, to be used by Ascension health care, Nicolet College and North Central Technical College. The grant is for two years.

Michelle Hartness  is Medical Education Supervisor at the Ascension facilities in the Northwoods.

She says to get the grant, they had to collaborate with local educators, in this case the local technical colleges, to provide advanced training...

"The first one is to pay for one of our licensed professional counselors or one of our advanced practice social workers to become a substance abuse counselor. Here within the northern region we are seeing a large influx of alcoholism, meth, opioid abuse. We would like to increase the level of care those two counselors give..."

She says they would like to have one of the counselors move into an advanced practice substance abuse counseling program with Nicolet College.

The second initiative is designed to find people to fill other high-skilled positions, within the current staffing... 

"So many of our hospitals and clinics are based on tourism fluctuation in and out of our region. During our tourism season our volumes and census are high, outside tourism season our census are low. We need to figure out how to staff that. So if we cross-train our allied health professionals into a surgical tech role, we can move those people depending on high or low census..."

The collaboration with the schools will allow three persons to be trained at the area Ascension hospitals to be cross-trained into those positions.

Michelle Hartness says they will post the positions internally. The candidates will be working full-time and going to school. The people selected in surgical tech will do their initial study at Nicolet, then do their lab and clinical training at North Central Technical College. She says they hope students will be learning as much as they can within the departments at St. Mary's hospital in Rhinelander and Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff

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