NAMPA — It's the first day of school for some students in Nampa--both in this classroom at CWI and in America.
"We in our country used to be physicians, both of us," said student Maria Ortiz.
The multicultural nursing assistant program at the College of Western Idaho in Nampa teaches those whose first language isn't English the proper skills and medical terminology for a job as a nursing assistant in the US.
"They get to learn nursing language, medical English and they'll get hands-on practice," said MNCA coordinator Liz Fleshman.
Three months ago, Maria and her husband moved to the states and brought 30 years of medical experience with them, though their licenses don't transfer over.
"I was the senior doctor in this emergency room, so the big problems came to me, from the normal population, from the tourists," said Mario Villegas.
Still, the program translates the gaps missing between their medical knowledge abroad and within the states.
"It opens doors of opportunity that would regularly be closed, because if they join a regular CNA class, maybe the English is a barrier for them," said Fleshman.
The students have to take the same certified nursing assistant (CNA) test as everyone else, but the required English tutoring and interview training better prepares them to start in a field they're passionate about here in America.
"We thought that through this course we could still keep on doing what we know and helping people," said Ortiz.
For the next four months, they're studying to start a new chapter of their lives.
"It's a whole new life. We have been going back in our lives, like 40 years or so, and we know how to move inside the health system, and this is the first step to begin to do that," said Villegas.
For information about the MCNA program visit: http://cwidaho.cc/program/certified-nursing-assistant-cna-preparation-classes