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Cotter Alum Shares Experiences with Cotter's CNA Students

Cotter Alum Shares Experiences with Cotter's CNA Students

When Connor Hagarty, RN/ BSN, and alumni Cotter Class of 2017 found out that Cotter offered new classes this year - one for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training and another for CNA Job Shadowing, he wished they would have had those opportunities when he was a student at Cotter. "It would have been such a great way for students to get a glimpse of the healthcare field while still in high school," Hagarty said.

When Connor learned from his dad, Mike Hagarty, Campus Minister and Academic and Career Advisor at Cotter, that they hoped to find guest speakers, he immediately said, "I'm in!"

After graduating from Cotter, Connor spent a year at St. John's University before transferring to Viterbo University earning his RN/ BSN degree in May 2022. He currently works at two hospitals - a full-time position in a rural setting (SSM Health in Baraboo, WI) and the other is a part-time position in an urban setting (UW Madison Health). His work on Med/Surg floors has exposed him to a variety of conditions and care strategies and he readily shared these insights with Cotter students. 

In the fall of 2023, nearly two dozen students completed their CNA training in classes held on the Cotter Campus through the Minnesota State Southeast C2C (Connect to College) Program. Students in the CNA Job Shadow this spring are rotating through several departments at Winona Health to observe the different roles there are in the healthcare field. The observations take place in the Emergency Department, ICU/Med/Surg/Family Birthing Center, Urgent Care, Lake Winona Manor, Senior Living at Watkins, and the Adith Miller and Roger Metz Manors.

While talking with the students, Connor emphasized how important it is to be ready for anything, to be keen observers, and to do it all with care and kindness for the patient, even when they are not kind to you as a caregiver. He also emphasized how important your co-workers are as you can support each other through the days, which can be long and, at times, tough.  

Students have enjoyed everything they are learning through their field experiences, including the challenging parts of caring for people in their hours of need. Cotter will continue to offer CNA classes and field experiences in healthcare and possibly other fields in the future.

Cotter Alum Shares Experiences with Cotter's CNA Students
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