Hospital, school district develop nursing program


Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside and Duval County Public Schools have partnered to develop an accredited Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program. The partnership provides 30-60 seniors at Westside High School with a comprehensive educational experience, equipping students with the knowledge, skills and training essential for a career in health care.

“The partnership with Duval County Public Schools showcases St. Vincent’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of health care professionals,” said Scott Kashman, president and CEO of St. Vincent’s Riverside. “Certified nursing assistants are an essential part of the patient-care team, and the career track can be a career path to work at the bedside or in administrative roles. We feel it is our responsibility to allow young professionals to explore opportunities in health care as early as possible.”

The highly competitive program requires students to complete applications to gain acceptance into the program. Students will complete three courses: anatomy and physiology, health sciences foundation, and nursing assistant 3. The program will prepare students to obtain the State of Florida Nursing Assistant Certification during the final semester of their senior year of high school, preparing them to embark on health care careers dedicated to enhancing the well-being of individuals and communities through exemplary patient care.

“Duval County Public Schools is always looking to partner with local, reputable employers, allowing our students to get an early start on meaningful, fulfilling careers,” said Jill Fierle, director of career and technical education, Duval County Public Schools. “The partnership with St. Vincent’s Riverside provides our students with exceptional clinical experiences, exposure to a large variety of medical professionals, and access to state-of-the-art technology, making them more attractive candidates to future employers.”

The Florida Board of Nursing regulates the accredited program. The curriculum combines theory and hands-on practice, including rounding with experienced St. Vincent’s nurses. The theoretical and practical components align with the Florida State Department of Education Curriculum Framework, ensuring alignment with program objectives. All students must complete a minimum of 40 clinical hours.

Developing a robust workforce pipeline is imperative to providing quality, patient-centered care to Northeast Florida communities. This partnership is one of many ways St. Vincent’s uses innovative and creative measures to grow the talent pool.

Ascension Florida includes Ascension St. Vincent’s based in Jacksonville and Ascension Sacred Heart based in Pensacola. Ascension Florida operates 10 hospitals and more than 200 other sites of care, employing more than 13,000 associates. Across the region, Ascension Providence, Ascension Sacred Heart and Ascension St. Vincent’s have served North Florida for more than 165 years.

In fiscal year 2022, Ascension Florida provided more than $265 million in community benefit and care of people living in poverty. Ascension is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit and Catholic health systems, with a mission of delivering compassionate, personalized care to all with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.

In FY2023, Ascension provided $2.2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Ascension includes approximately 134,000 associates, 35,000 affiliated providers and 140 hospitals, serving communities in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

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