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Health Report: Tanana Chiefs Conference seeks volunteers for Health Aide training

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 4:12 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) Health Aide Training Center is seeking community volunteers to help assist in the training of health aides.

According to Faith Walsh, Community Health Aide Trainee Manager Instructor for the TCC Health Aide Training Center, health aides are trained to provide health care in rural communities and remote Villages.

“They are trained, they are provided oversight by the medical providers,” Walsh explained, “and they still continue to this day practice medical traffic reports everyday by partnering with their provider. But they are the frontline. They provide everything from emergency medicine, to primary care, acute care, and preventative care. They are the frontline that really speaks and takes care of our patients.”

And according to Nikki Smoke, Community Health Practitioner Instructor, volunteers provide valuable experience for Health Aides in training.

“The main reason we need volunteers is to help establish the confidence and that real patient care to prepare health aides for when they go out to the rural villages - because when they’re out there, it’s just them,” Smoke elaborated. “They don’t have instructors, sometimes it’s just themselves. They don’t have other health aides there, and so it’s to help better prepare them for the real deal rather than having them practice on our mannequin models.”

Smoke continued, “Another thing we’ve found with volunteers coming and not only just using our models is that the volunteers give good feedback - whether it’s good or bad, what they liked about it or not, and it helps the health aide learn. Instead of just the instructor that’s with the health aide or the training center instructors giving them that feedback themselves, it’s nice to hear that from volunteer patients.”

The volunteers will be asked to participate in a simple ear exam and provide feedback to the trainees.

“If anyone’s familiar with the health aide program, they know it can consist of a really long visit,” Smoke remarked. “So when we ask volunteers to come, it’s just the exam that takes place because of the long visits. We just practice the exam so they can get the skills down, and for an ear exam it’s just basically hands on. They’re going to feel your ear, ask questions about any tenderness, and then look inside of your ear.”

Volunteers are asked to call and set up appointments at (907) 452-8251 ext. 3227 or ext. 3038. The training will take place on Wednesday, November 3rd, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Al Ketzler Sr. Building in suite 120.

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