Barton Community College offers CNA courses on scholarship in Ellsworth with area partners

student taking blood pressure
A CNA student practices taking a patient's blood pressure.

March 29, 2021
Story by Joe Vinduska

Those seeking a credential as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) have the chance to enroll in a course at no charge thanks to a generous anonymous donor and a collaboration between Barton Community College, Ellsworth County Medical Center (ECMC) and Good Samaritan Retirement Center. 

The two 2021 CNA classes are set for June 7-23 and July 6-22. The classes are 90 hours in length and held over two weeks. Presentations will be held at ECMC and clinical experiences at the Good Samaritan Retirement Center in Ellsworth. 

Ten students will be selected for each class, with additional students added to a waitlist. Applications are available at and will be accepted until both classes are filled. 

After selection, applicants must still apply to Barton Community College and successfully pass a reading test prior to enrolling in the CNA class.

Students must be 16 years of age by the first day of class. High School students must have written permission from a guardian and their high school principal to receive college credit. 

Students must also pass a background check, provide immunization records, proof of current health insurance and other requirements that will be communicated to students.

According to the pamphlet promoting the classes, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) are certified professionals that provide direct care towards patients in hospitals and residents in long-term care facilities. CNAs assist with tasks including taking vitals, dressing, eating, toileting, bathing and personal hygiene. Becoming a CNA is a chance to begin a long-term career in healthcare and opens the door for a wide variety of work settings. CNAs make a difference in the lives of patients and residents they serve. Throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have served on the frontlines, caring for those in aging services that are most susceptible.

Registered Nurse Tami Birkholz is a staff nurse and Education Coordinator at Ellsworth County Medical Center (ECMC) and an adjunct professor at Barton Community College. This is her third summer teaching the CNA courses. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Before working at ECMC, Tami worked in a variety of nursing settings, including adult care homes and large and rural hospitals. Students will find her to be a competent, energetic instructor with a wealth of experience. 

“I am thrilled to be teaching the 2021 CNA classes and am hopeful that this year’s students will become active in the Ellsworth Medical community.”

For more information, please contact Nursing Remediation & Adult Healthcare Programs Coordinator Sara Hoff at or (620) 792-9298.

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