HCEN Offers Health Care Training and More to 50 Hospitals and the Business Community

Director Rebecca Petersen, left, and Kathy Gavigan, customer service manager, discuss HCEN's Pleasanton presence.

In their three years since opening its Hacienda location, the Hospital Consortium Education Network (HCEN) has experienced tremendous growth. Looking at their expanded offerings, which include a number of new courses and some outside the realm of health care, it's easy to see why.

In 1996-97, about 5,000 people took classes at HCEN. For the year ending June 30, 2000, that number was close to 10,000. Three years ago, HCEN was affiliated with 14 sponsor hospitals. Today, that list has grown to 50 hospitals from around the Bay Area as well as Samuel Merritt College.

"Hospitals have downsized their education departments but their education needs increase rather than decrease," explains HCEN director Rebecca Petersen. Thus, her organization's growth.

In the last year, HCEN has also begun an affiliation with St. Mary's College.

"If you go to St. Mary's to get a degree, you can take course work for their program with us," explains Petersen. "(St. Mary's) evaluated a number of our bigger programs and has assigned college credits to them."

HCEN's programs focus on four basic areas: continuing education for health care providers; training programs for health care providers to learn new skills; entry-level programs for those who seek to enter health care professions; and programs and classes for businesses outside health care.

It's the last category that excites Petersen.

"Primarily, our classes are health care related but there are a lot of courses that people could benefit from here in Hacienda," she says.

One example she gives is HCEN's class in stress reduction.

"I help teach that course and we look at some basic stress management skills like breathing and that sort of thing but also get into aromatherapy and herbal therapy."

She notes that their Management Leadership Program is also applicable to businesses outside of health care.

"It covers basic management skills, self-management skills, personnel issues, organizational management" she continues. "We can also custom-tailor our classes to an organization."

HCEN plans to launch its first online class, Defusing Assaultive Behavior, in the first quarter of 2001. The organization's entire course catalog is also available online, including online registration services, at www.hospitalconsort.org.

The organization's bread and butter remains, however, health care classes.

They offer a vast number of continuing education courses on a wide variety of subjects. Specialized programs range from two days to six months and cover perioperative nurse training, emergency nurse certification, labor and delivery nurse certification, critical care certification, and other topics.

For those seeking to enter health care professions, HCEN's programs in paramedic training, monitor or anesthesia technician training, and EMT training provide an important step.

Finally, HCEN has recently begun offering retreat and meeting facilitation services.

For more information on HCEN, call the Pleasanton campus at (925) 416-1798.

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