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CCRI, University Medicine team up for new apprenticeship program

A novel partnership in the Ocean State promises to benefit some people in the medical field who are hoping to move up. (WJAR)

A novel partnership in the Ocean State promises to benefit some people in the medical field who are hoping to move up.

The program -- a first in the country -- is bringing together CCRI and the largest multi-specialty medical group in Rhode Island, University Medicine, which has six locations.

Ana Tueros has been a medical assistant at University Medicine for 12 years. She currently works out of their East Providence facility and explains what it means to be a medical assistant.

"We bring the patient in the room and we collect medical information and vital signs," said Tueros.

But now, she's working toward becoming a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, which will mean she has more responsibilities.

"I love it because it will help me continue working with patients and I love the medical field, so I'll grow," said Tueros.

It’s all made possible by the launch of an Apprenticeship Program for medical assistants. It is funded in part by University Medicine and by a grant CCRI received from the State of Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board.

There are two components. One includes classes for LPN studies.

"The classes for preparing are done right here,” said Dr. Louis Rice, who is the president and CEO of University Medicine. “So, employees can do it during their afternoons."

Rice said individuals will pay $100, which is reimbursed if they get at least a “C.” Tueros already had the pre-requisites, so she is now in the LPN Apprenticeship program.

“The people who are taking the LPN courses (will) do their clinical work, actually, here, working normally,” Rice said. “If you had to take the LPN course, you'd have to take a year off work and do your practical education where that was.”

Tammy Lederer, who is the chief human resources officer with UM, worked closely with CCRI.

"The partnership worked out,” she said. (We) started talking about classes (and) they kind of resurrected their LPN program.”

Tueros is one of four enrolled. She said she likes the fact that she can take classes at the CCRI Warwick campus at times that least impact her other duties.

"We leave early Tuesday and Thursday, and then Saturday and Sunday we do the clinicals," said Tueros.

It's a lot of hard work but as Tueros puts it, "it's hard to enter the nursing program."

CCRI staff members evaluate the level of academic readiness for the LPN program on site and then work directly with students.

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