Nurses of the future: Find out about Noblesville’s CNA internship program


Senior Lydia Nelson-mercer walks into her placement for CNA. Many members of the program have to show up before school hours or stay after school hours.

Gabe Fryling and Caitlin Hall

If you were to ask the grade-school aged Shelby Hodge about what she wanted to be in the future, you’d find her responding with a single word: “Nursing.” Today, when she remembers dressing up in her scrubs then for Halloween as a kid, it’s a familiar feeling as she puts on her scrubs as she heads to her internship. The high school junior is living the life of a nurse as a member of a unique NHS opportunity.

Noblesville High School offers one of the largest internship programs in the state and includes dozens of options for students, however one of the most popular is the Certified Nursing Assistant program (CNA). This program allows for students to get hands-on experience as a nurse in a less busy environment. However, this program is not only for those who are set on being a nurse but for anyone who is interested in what nursing is even like.

“I initially just saw people wearing the scrubs to school and thought that was super cool,” Hodge said. “I knew that I wanted to have some sort of internship this year and thought it would be a cool opportunity.” 

This program is unlike any regular class Noblesville offers. Students are able to be on-site working as a nurse, but in a different role than a registered nurse (RN). This class can be seen as a stepping stone for those who want to pursue nursing in the future, which is how senior Sammy Nusz visualizes the class working for him.

“I want to be an RN like my aunt and [CNA] really prepares you for what to expect and how to deal with patients on a regular basis,” Nusz said. 

The CNA program provides an outlet for students to do hands-on learning, allowing them to engage in a more realistic work environment. Students understand that being a RN is more work, but senior Lydia Nelson-Mercer knows how this class offers a glimpse into the life of an RN.

“This class has helped me better understand the basic skills nurses need to provide bedside care to residents,” Nelson-Mercer said. “I know the skills we practice and test are basic skills within registered nurses’ scopes of practices.”

These skills may seem basic to an outsider, but the class itself requires more from students than a typical class taken at NHS. It can demand a student’s time to extend well beyond school hours, which may be new for some students.

“Class usually starts at 8 a.m. but it can change depending on the day. The earliest I’ve gone in for class was 6:30 a.m.and the latest I’ve stayed after school was 10 p.m.,” Nelson-Mercer said. “Staying after school or coming in on weekends is completely optional, but is highly recommended to help pass the state exams.”

Even with these additional hours, students may also have a variety of responsibilities based on what the class is doing on the day. These tasks can be surprising to someone not familiar with the job, but it is what any nurse is expected to do on a daily basis. 

“Our normal days include a ton of care for the residents. It can be from changing residents to helping them with hygiene,” Nusz said. “It’s fast-paced but definitely helps prepare you when it comes to working in the medical field.”

Being a CNA could be described as stressful but the students enjoy being able to work together and getting to know the residents as well. 

“I’ve met several people that I’ve gotten pretty close with through the class which makes the class so much more enjoyable. If I were by myself it would be very scary but knowing that we’re all in the same boat helps a lot,” Hodge said. 

Many CNAs say that while the class is important for their future, it’s also an enjoyable part of their day. They get to join the nursing community while still in high school, an option that’s not available to many students until college. 

“It’s a lot of work but [it’s] fun being able to help the nurse with the residents’ daily tasks,” Nusz said. “There is always so much to do on the floor that we always find a way to keep busy.”