Patient Care Exploration

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Patient Care Exploration

Explore Patient Care Careers

A unique, hands-on learning experience providing care for patients in a clinical setting. Work side-by-side with healthcare professionals in a healthcare facility and fulfill prerequisites for many college health programs.

You will learn to perform basic nursing skills through hands-on, direct patient care. Examples include: assessment of vital signs, such as taking blood pressure, temperature and respiration, performing basic hygiene and transfer skills (bathing, dressing and feeding) and learning to communicate with residents and the healthcare team.

Certification Opportunities

State of Iowa Nurse Aide Certification Exam (CNA) and American Heart Association CPR.

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Course offerings may vary. Visit your nearest Kirkwood location website or high school for local course options. 

HSC-107 | Professionals in Health | 2 credits
Presents skills and characteristics expected for professional preparation and employability. Provides an overview of the health industry as it relates to health and safety regulations.


HSC-115 | Medical Terminology | 4 credits
A comprehensive study of medical terminology as the language of medicine. Analyzes words by dividing them into component parts. Relates the medical terms to the structure and functional pathology of diseases and current medical procedures. Emphasizes word usage, abbreviations, pronunciation and spelling.


HSC-168 | Nurse Aide (CNA Certification) | 3.5 credits
Meets the training requirements for nurse aides in long-term care facilities. Emphasizes achieving basic knowledge and demonstrating skills to provide safe, effective care.


HSC-205 | Exploration of Healthcare Careers | 3 credits
Explores all aspects of health care and careers in the field. Focuses on understanding basic wellness, and growth and development of the human being. Includes field trips to an emergency room at a local hospital, a surgical center, a free healthcare clinic, a dental clinic, an outpatient OT/PT/speech center, administrative offices at a nursing home and a laboratory. Covers the past, present and future of health care.

Students are required to have a current physical and immunization records completed and then submitted to Certified Background during the first semester of the academy.

Per state requirements, all health care facilities require criminal background checks, including students in a clinical setting. More information will be shared at the required orientation.

Average Salaries

Nurse (BSN)


Health Care Administrator

Based on available Iowa salary data at

The Patient Care Academy Program can lead students to college certificates such as diplomas, associate's, bachelor's, and graduate degrees. Examples of college majors include, but are not limited to: Nursing, Athletic Training, Pre-Med, Exercise Science, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Radiology, and Respiratory Therapy.

If you are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university after attending Kirkwood, specific transfer information can be found at All About Transferring.