Heather Abner, Health Science Teacher and registered nurse at the Clark County Area Technology Center, was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Teaching for the Central District for Fall 2020 by the Office of Career and Technical Education in Frankfort.
Abner has been a nurse for 20 years and in nursing education for the past 11 years.
“I was very humbled by the award,” Abner said. “I don’t do this job for me; I do for my students, so they are prepared for the next step of their health care career.”
During Abner’s tenure at the Clark County ATC she had grown the Health Science department form offering a Nurse Aide program to offering pathways in EMT, Phlebotomy Technician, Pharmacy Technician, Physical Therapy Aide and Allied Health.
These programs allow high school seniors from GRC to graduate with certification in these fields. Many of Abner’s students use these certifications as a way to pay tuition for higher education.
Currently, Abner has students who are practicing nurses, medical assistants, surgical technicians, dental assistants and some are attending medical school.
“When I see one of my students who has obtained their goal of becoming a health care professional,” she says, “I am proud to say, they were one of my students.”
Abner says the success of the Health Science program at the Clark County ATC is in large part due to the other staff members that work with her.
“I could not have expanded the Health Science program without Teresa Cowan, Rebecca Prater and Dee Wooley,” said Abner. “Having them on board with me has allowed the Clark County ATC to not only offer the Medicaid Nursing Assistant Certification, but Phlebotomy Technician, Physical Therapy Assistant and Emergency Medical Technician certifications.”