Dianne Argonis-Basto, a 35-year registered nurse, teaches the Career Pathway program in Healthcare Science - Therapeutic Services and Patient Care at Cherokee High School. Here she works with seniors Chloe Sexton, left, and Katherine Lanier to practice patient care skills.
The Cherokee County School District offers 38 Career Pathway high school programs, which provide students with a wide selection of job exploration and preparation electives. Through CCSD Pathway Profiles, we’ll regularly share highlights with you from one of these programs. This week’s profile focuses on Healthcare Science - Therapeutic Services and Patient Care, which is offered at Cherokee HS and Sequoyah HS during the school day and after school at River Ridge HS through a dual enrollment program with Chattahoochee Technical College. Beginning this spring, the program also will be offered after school at Creekview HS through dual enrollment with Chattahoochee Tech. It is one of five different Healthcare Science Career Pathway programs available in CCSD schools …
Cherokee High School senior Emma O'Bryant plans to pursue a career as a pediatric nurse.
Now in her third year in the Career Pathway program focused on Healthcare Science - Therapeutic Services and Patient Care, Emma said she feels ready for success in nursing school.
“The Pathway has been preparing me for a successful career in healthcare,” she said. “During the Pathway, I have learned how to treat patients, manage teams, work with others to reach a goal, respect my patients and colleagues and how to succeed in life outside of the classroom.”
Dianne Argonis-Basto, a 35-year registered nurse, has led the program at Cherokee High School for the past 12 years. [Click here to see more photos from her classes.]
“We have had so many great success stories,” she said. “I have students each year who are accepted into nursing programs at Kennesaw State University, Reinhardt University, Augusta University, Georgia College and State University. One of my former students earned his bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree and registered nurse license and works at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in the neonatal intensive care unit. But the most fulfilling for me is when fellow teachers and staff come to tell me they were in the hospital and one of my former students cared for them or their family member. That is full circle!”
Ms. Argonis-Basto’s students benefit from her experience from working as a nurse in various healthcare settings and specialties, from earning her BSN degree and master’s degree in education and from teaching nursing at the college level. “I wanted to introduce nursing and healthcare to a much younger student population,” she said, as to what led her to join Cherokee High’s faculty.
“The Pathway classes prepare students for college level classes as well as entry level jobs in healthcare,” she said. “Our community healthcare organizations have many opportunities for our students if they are work ready.”
The pandemic has made the program even more meaningful to students, she said.
“It really made the unit on infection control real and applicable to all of my students, and they were able to critically apply the knowledge during their day to day life,” she said.
Within the Pathway, classes offered include: introduction to healthcare science, essentials of healthcare, patient care fundamentals. The essentials of healthcare course also earns students a science credit, which meets their fourth science course requirement. Students can earn certified nursing assistant, OSHA healthcare, CPR and National Health Science Assessment industry certifications. Students can compete in HOSA Future Health Professionals state and national career skills contests.
This Pathway prepares students for careers including, but not limited to: certified nursing assistant, nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, clinical nurse specialist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, physician assistant, family and general physician, pediatrician, hospitalist, internist, obstetrician/gynecologist, physical medicine/rehabilitation physician, nuclear medicine physician, nursing instructor or Professor.
The average income range for careers in this Pathway in Georgia is $44,000 to $222,000. Local and area employers for this Pathway include, but are not limited to: Cherokee County School District, Northside Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, WellStar Health System, Piedmont Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Canton Center for Nursing and Healing, Cherokee Women's Health Specialists, Towne Lake Endoscopy Center, assisted living and senior living facilities, physician’s offices and other healthcare providers.