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West hills college Coalinga.

SERVING THE WEST SIDE OF CALIFORNIA'S SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, West Hills Community College District serves more than 6,000 undergraduate students at its West Hills College Coalinga and West Hills College Lemoore campuses. Many students are enrolled in online classes. The MetLife Foundation and Jobs for the Future have honored West Hills as the small community college nationwide that best exemplifies helping underserved youth and adults prepare for further education and career advancement.

Both campuses are fully accredited and offer transfer assistance to the University of California, California State Universities, and other four-year colleges. The Psychiatric Technician Program offered at the Coalinga campus is also accredited by the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.

The West Hills Psychiatric Technician Program consists of three semesters with content areas in nursing science, psychiatric nursing, and care of the developmentally disabled. It includes two seven-hour days of theory-based lectures a week, lab practice, and two days of clinical experience at various community facilities. Clinical assignment locations include state and district facilities as well as Corcoran District Hospital, Ralph Neate Extended Care, Kings Rehabilitation Center and Community Behavioral Health.

In the first semester of the program, the academic content focuses on nursing science and includes basic human needs, standard precautions, medication administration, daily care, skill competencies related to specific illnesses, medication administration, and care of specific types of patients such as geriatric, dying, and children. There are also courses in therapeutic relationships, communication skills, nutritional needs and common disorders.

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In the second semester, the focus is on care of the developmentally disabled; students learn about mental retardation, psychosocial aspects of disability, history and legislation, community resources, trends in care, behavior modification, genetics, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and etiologies.

The third semester content is psychiatric nursing, and among the content are classes in mental health, nursing process, clinical documentation, communications, patient rights, institutionalization, therapeutic modalities, and specific disorders and behaviors. The students also learn about forensic nursing, criminal personality, burnout, pharmacology, supervision, critical thinking and medical math.

Since California is one of the four states with state-mandated licensing of psychiatric technicians, after completing the West Hills program, students must successfully pass the state examination in order to be employed as licensed psychiatric technicians. Job opportunities are available to licensed technicians at psychiatric facilities operated by the California State Departments of Mental Health, Developmental Services and Corrections, as well as at private and county facilities.

In 2005, when the construction of Coalinga State Hospital was completed, graduates of the West Hills program were ideally suited to fill the new jobs at the multidisciplinary mental health facility; the facility delivers psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery-oriented inpatient services to civilly committed patients and acutely mentally ill prisoners. A new state hospital is scheduled to open in Stockton soon and it is anticipated that many additional positions for psychiatric technicians will be available.

In this area of the San Joaquin Valley, the community is well served by the West Hills Coalinga Psychiatric Technician Program, which is training skilled mental health professionals to work with doctors in providing much-needed care for people with mental illness or developmental disabilities.

For more information about West Hills College Coalinga and its Psychiatric Technician Program, visit www.westhillscollege.com/coaling.
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Title Annotation:SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT
Publication:Techniques
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Nov 1, 2011
Words:538
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