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Future Healers: The Journey of Nursing Students

Future Healers: The Journey of Nursing Students

The right career path is not always the easiest, and Mt. Vernon High School Health Science student Kyla Selbe wouldn’t have it any other way on her journey to becoming a nurse.

“Medicine is supposed to be hard,” the senior and second-year Health Science student said. “It’s not something to be taken lightly because you're putting other people’s lives in your hands.”

Kyla has been so successful in doing the hard work of Health Science classes over the past two years that she’s earned direct admission to the University of Cincinnati’s highly regarded nursing program, where she will enroll next fall. Kyla credits her achievement to Mt. Vernon’s rigorous, hands-on Health Science program, along with inspiring examples from her own family.

“My mom has always been one to help others. She’s been a paramedic; she’s been a firefighter, so my interest started with her,” Kyla shared. Her interest grew when her grandmother arranged a tour of Marian University’s nursing facility, giving her a first-hand glimpse of a learning and work environment that she found appealing.

The knowledge, skills and experience she has gained through Mt. Vernon’s Health Science courses have reinforced her decision to work toward a career as a neonatal intensive care nurse. Health Science 1, she explained, led to her certification as a nurse’s aide, with additional certifications for CPR and AED. 

Halfway through this year’s Health Science 2 class Kyla already has learned to draw blood, administer vaccinations and conduct tests for Covid, strep and other illnesses. “We work more directly with patients’ point of care this year, which has been a really cool thing,” she said. By year’s end, Kyla will be prepared to take one more step up - testing to certify as a clinical medical assistant.

In addition to providing the foundation for a nursing career, the Health Science program – one of many Mt. Vernon’s CTE options – offers a shared learning environment. “Part of this is about finding your community,” Kyla said. “The other students in there are some of my best friends. We do so much work together; and I couldn’t do this without them.”

In addition to that camaraderie and coursework under the direction of Health Science teacher Rikita Mason, Kyla also is gaining invaluable experience through an externship arranged by MVHS Assistant Principal Stan Wilkison at the Mt. Vernon Employee Clinic, managed by Hancock Health. Kyla devotes mornings as a student medical assistant at the clinic. Working closely with the nurse practitioner and clinical manager, Kyla said, provides a valuable level of learning to supplement her Health Science classes.
With 34 students participating in the Pre-Nursing / Healthcare Specialist CNA Pathway this year, including some students from Greenfield Central and New Palestine, Mr. Wilkison expects continued enrollment growth next year and beyond, all of which translates to additional opportunities for Health Science students.

“I think what really got me a position (at the University of Cincinnati) was my experience,” Kyla said. “My clinical experience of the last two years, my work experience and the college credits I got through this course have emphasized that these are not normal high school classes. It’s above that because you're getting hands-on experience, and I think that makes them trust you a little more.”

Both the CNA and CCMA pathways are part of HC3 (Hancock County Career Center) and will be offered to county high school students in the Amplify Hancock building beginning in the fall of 2026. The list of CTE course offerings for county high school students can be found at