Evening Medical Assistant Program Now Enrolling

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program is currently enrolling students in its evening Medical Assistant program. The class will be held in the Lemon Street Lab on the Johnson College campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m. beginning on March 21, 2023, and ending on October 4, 2023.

This program prepares students to assist physicians by performing functions related to the clinical aspects of a medical office. Functions include preparing patients for examination, treatment, routine laboratory procedures, pharmacology, and taking and documenting vital signs. Plus, students will learn the fundamentals of phlebotomy and venipunctures, anatomy & physiology, and medical terminology encountered in the field. Students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to perform the duties required of a medical assistant.

The class fee is $5,000 and is approved by PA CareerLink for those eligible for funding through their local CareerLink.

To learn more or enroll call 570-702-8979 or email continuinged@johnson.edu. To register for the course, visit johnson.edu/continuingeducation.

PPL Foundation Major Grant Supports New STEM Programming

Johnson College has received a $65,000 PPL Foundation Major Grant. These funds will support a new STEM Learning Labs after-school program for economically-disadvantaged students from diverse backgrounds.

Throughout the program, students will use hands-on learning and activities to discover and explore potential careers in STEM fields. In a supportive environment that will encourage creativity and lifelong learning, students will work with technology such as Lego Mindstorms, Kinex, robotic arms, 3-D printing, electric circuits, and Ozobot robotic computer programming.

The program is designed for seventh and eighth-grade students from Lackawanna County school districts including Nativity Miguel, Old Forge, Riverside, and Scranton. During this five-week program, students will meet after school three times per week for four weeks at their home school. During the fifth week, students will attend programming at Johnson College for additional hands-on experience with more advanced equipment.

The PPL Foundation’s Major Grant program makes annual awards through a competitive application and review process.

This year, the PPL Foundation received more than 100 applications during this highly competitive grant cycle. Johnson College was one of 17 organizations to be selected for an award.

“We are continuously inspired by the caring, commitment and creativity of the many nonprofit organizations such as Johnson College who make a lasting difference in our communities, and this year’s grant recipients are no exception. We’re proud to support their efforts,” said Ryan Hill, PPL Foundation president.

For more information about the program, contact Tim Frank, Johnson College Associate Director of Community Engagement, at tfrank@johnson.edu or at (570) 702-8963.

About the PPL Foundation

Through strategic partnerships, the PPL Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that are engaged in innovative and groundbreaking work to create vibrant, sustainable communities; advance diversity, equity and inclusion; and support children’s success from cradle to career. The PPL Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in eastern and central Pennsylvania. To learn more, visit pplcares.com.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Kellyn Williams, Associate Vice President of Special Programs, Johnson College; Dr. Katie Pittelli, President & CEO, Johnson College; Alana Roberts, Regional Affairs Director, PPL Electric Utilities; Karen Baker, Senior Director of College Advancement, Johnson College; and Tim Frank, Associate Director of Community Engagement, Johnson College.

From Nose to Tail: Celebrating the unsung heroes

By Dr. Meg Varner-Soden, DVM.

In this month’s article, I would like to focus on one of the most amazing species I have had the pleasure to work with: licensed veterinary nurses, commonly known as LVNs!

This rare, underappreciated and misunderstood breed of human is why I joined the Veterinary Nursing Program at Johnson College. I love to help develop “Baby Vet Nurses” and reap the joy of watching them flourish.

The main difference between a licensed veterinary nurse and a non-licensed veterinary assistant is their level of education and training. Ideally, they have earned their degree(s) through an American Veterinary Medical Association-accredited college such as Johnson College. There are two-year associate’s degrees (such as we offer at Johnson College) and four-year bachelor’s degrees.

A veterinary nurse educational program is usually rigorous and requires a studious, conscientious, intelligent, hard-working and disciplined person with good interpersonal skills to complete.

Their coursework includes a plethora of math and science and covers a range of species, from tiny pocket pets to huge draft horses. Here is a sample of the classes taken: anatomy and physiology, chemistry, parasitology, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, radiology and ultrasonography, as well as customer service courses.

Subsequently, they apply this book knowledge through clinical rotations (surgery and medicine), which provide supervised hands-on experiences while still students. Students must then complete a five-week internship in the field before earning their degree.

Upon completion of the academic program, they then sit for a National Boards Exam to earn their license. And it doesn’t stop there. Just like a veterinarian, LVNs are required to earn continuing education credits on a two- to three-year basis, depending on what state they are licensed in, to maintain their license.

Also, did you know that an LVN can become formally specialized? Currently, they can gain specialty credentials in one of sixteen focuses. Examples include emergency and critical care, dentistry, internal medicine, zoological medicine, behavior, dermatology and equine medicine.

A licensed vet nurse can do anything in a veterinary facility that is hands-on and technical, except for surgery, diagnosis and prescribing medications. Good bedside manner is also critical, considering that they are often among the first and last people a pet owner interacts with during a vet visit.

Here is a sampler list of things an LVN can do under the direction of a veterinarian:

  • Prepare for and lead an anesthesia event, including monitoring a patient before, during and after a surgical procedure.
  • Place intra-venous catheters, give injections by different routes and place endotracheal tubes and other gadgets.
  • Draw blood/urine samples to run various diagnostic tests and report results to the veterinarian.
  • Perform radiographs, ultrasound and sometimes even advanced imaging like CT scans and MRIs.
  • Perform professional dental cleanings.
  • Take measurements for the veterinarian — for example, eye pressures, dry eye tests, blood pressures, blood glucose readings, pulse oxygenation and electrocardiograms.
  • Take various skin samples to be cultured or evaluated with the team under a microscope. A good LVN can readily identify pathogens and parasites and report findings to the vet.
  • Administer certain booster vaccines and/or medications ordered by a vet. In complicated chronic diseases such as diabetes and Addison’s disease, LVNs are integral to your pet’s routine treatment and monitoring. Provide detailed take-home instructions when your pet is discharged from the clinic following a surgical procedure.
  • Performs thorough record-keeping of all kinds. May serve as a practice manager and/or staff supervisor.

Finally, how can a pet owner better utilize a veterinary office’s licensed nurses?

When bringing your pet to the vet, please don’t assume your LVN doesn’t have enough expertise to hear about your pet’s history or field your questions. Too many owners wait for the veterinarian to enter the room before telling the whole story, and honestly, this is a disservice to your pet and not a wise use of your veterinary team’s time.

Never underestimate the superpowers your licensed veterinary nurse has! They enjoy being utilized and challenged. They love patient care and bonding with owners. Seasoned LVNs are an absolute treasure trove of wisdom – I still learn from them on a regular basis!

Dr. Meg Varner-Soden, DVM, is the veterinarian at the Johnson College Animal Care Center as well as an instructor for the Johnson College Veterinary Nursing Program. She has been practicing veterinary medicine for 12 years.

College Earns PA Hunger-Free Campus Designation

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has designated Johnson College as a “Hunger-Free Campus.” This pilot program, spearheaded by Pennsylvania First Lady, Frances Wolf, aims to build a coalition of colleges and universities focused on addressing hunger and other basic needs for their students.

Johnson College received the designation in October before becoming eligible to apply for grant funding through the Department of Education to support student initiatives to address food security.

“We know that food and other basic need insecurities act as barriers that hamper our students’ abilities to focus on their education,” Amy Driscoll McNulty said. Amy is currently the Associate Director of Student Success at Johnson College and will lead the campus-wide initiative. “With this designation and related efforts moving forward, our goal is to lessen or remove those barriers, increase awareness of resources, and provide healthy food options so that students spend less time worrying about their next meal and more time pursuing their educational goals.”

According to national studies, over one-third of students know someone who dropped out of college due to food insecurity during the pandemic, and roughly 52 percent of students who faced food or housing insecurity in 2020 did not apply for support because they did not know how. Colleges and universities across the country are taking steps to address these issues.

Students who may need assistance at Johnson College may stop into the Office of Counseling and Disability Services in the Moffat Student Center on campus to access the student food pantry and to discuss other options and resources such as local food banks and the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

For more information about this initiative, visit www.education.pa.gov/Postsecondary-Adult/PAHungerFreeCampus.

Fall 2022 Semester President’s List

Dr. Katie Pittelli, President & CEO of Johnson College, has announced the President’s List of students who have completed the 2022 Fall Semester with a grade point average of 3.90 or higher.

Jacob Banta, Automotive Technology, Trucksville, PA

Dominic Bulzoni, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology, Scranton, PA

Rachel Butler, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology, Lake Ariel, PA

Richard Christianson, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology, Susquehanna, PA

Briana  Curtis, Electronic Engineering Technology, Blakely, PA

Colton Esslinger, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Susquehanna, PA

Brandon Grandinetti, Computer Information Technology, Olyphant, PA

Hope Hoanzl, Electronic Engineering Technology, Forest City, PA

Jared Hodorawis, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology, Honesdale, PA

Anthony Kutchmanich, Physical Therapist Assistant, Greenfield Twp., PA

Andrea Marques, Carpentry and Cabinetmaking Technology, Sybertsville, PA

Dustin McAllister, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology, Scranton, PA

Chase Notz, Computer Information Technology, Scranton, PA

Devin Nowicky, Radiologic Technology, Drums, PA

Ryan Phillips, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology, Dallas, PA

Carley Riefler, Physical Therapist Assistant, Honesdale, PA

Julie Ristics, Computer Information Technology, Dunmore, PA

Thayer Rogers, Veterinary Nursing, Hershey, PA

Devin Walsh, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology, Olyphant, PA

Karl Weninger, Diesel Truck Technology, Kingston, PA

Kevin Williams, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology, Eynon, PA

Kyle Williams, Electronic Engineering Technology, Greentown, PA