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News Story

Nursing Assistant program rated “top tier” by state reviewer

Nov. 17, 2017

Calling it one of the top Nursing Assistant training programs in Wisconsin, the academic program at Nicolet College was recently awarded another two years of certification from the Wisconsin Department of Health’s Office of Caregiver Quality.

“Without question Nicolet’s Nursing Assistant program is top tier and one of the best in the state,” said Cindy Hintze, Nurse Aide Training Consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Health. “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s definitely a 10. Students are clearly learning the skills they need for successful careers in the field.”

Nursing Assistant student in clinicalsDuring her recent on-site visit Hintze scrutinized virtually every aspect of the program, including the curriculum and level of academic rigor, student test scores, program policies, and even student attendance records.

She’s been reviewing Nicolet’s Nursing Assistant program for the past 22 years, visiting campus and evaluating the program every two years as required by law.

“Nicolet has consistently been a top performer during that entire time and this year was no different,” she said.

There was one aspect that did particularly stand out during her latest visit: the student evaluations of the program and instructors.

“It was impressive to see how many students genuinely enjoy being enrolled in the program and how well respected the faculty members are,” she said. “That is always great to see.”

Student comments were submitted anonymously and included:

“Thank you for teaching me everything you did and making sure I had all of the skills I needed to succeed.”

“The hands-on activities and all of the demonstrations really helped me learn all of the things I needed to know.”

“Our instructor was fantastic at engaging our class and teaching in an interactive way. I felt very well prepared … and am excited to work as a CNA.”

Hintze said she was also impressed with the number of Nursing Assistant classes Nicolet holds off-campus in the outlying communities in the Nicolet District. Over the years Nicolet has held classes in Eagle River, Tomahawk, Laona and Crandon. Another class in Laona will start in January.

“That tells me they really go above and beyond and go out of their way to deliver this much-needed instruction and skills to as many people as possible.”

Annually, about 130 to 150 students complete the technical diploma program, said Joe Placek, Nicolet’s Nursing Assistant program coordinator and instructor.

“These graduates are the ones who work in area nursing homes and long-term care facilities and care for our relatives, friends and neighbors when they can no longer do that themselves,” Placek said. “Training these students is a big responsibility and one that we take very seriously.”

With demand high for nursing assistants, the program commonly posts a 100 percent job placement for graduates, noted Candy Dailey, interim dean of Health Occupations at Nicolet.

“Becoming a nursing assistant is the first credential students need to earn on their path to becoming a registered nurse,” Dailey said. “It’s common for Nursing Assistant graduates to get a job in the field and also enroll in classes in the Associate Degree Nursing program. This way they can earn money, get experience in the field, and continue their educations to get them even farther ahead in life.”

For more information about Nicolet’s Nursing Assistant program and other careers in Health Occupations, visit or call Nicolet at (715) 365-4493, 1-800-544-3039; TTY 1-800-947-3520 or 711 relay.