Becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is the first step of many people’s careers in health care. CNAs are caregivers who spend their time with patients and residents helping them with their daily needs and making them feel safe, happy, and as comfortable as possible.
Some CNAs spend their entire careers in this direct caregiving role because they enjoy the close relationships with patients and residents. Others use their CNA experience as a stepping stone before going on to other roles such as becoming registered nurses, radiologic technologists, healthcare administrators and more.
Wanda Wilcox, RN, Executive Director of Chase Point Assisted Living, states that being a CNA not only helped her make her decision to become a registered nurse, but also made nursing school easier and laid a foundation for her to be the nurse she is today.
“I always thought I might want to be a nurse, but I wasn’t sure if I would like it” explained Wilcox. “The realistic part of me didn’t want spend the time and money on nursing school if I didn’t like it, so I became a CNA to get a better idea of nursing.” Becoming a CNA requires less time and money compared to becoming a nurse.
Wilcox worked as a CNA for a few years before going to school to become a registered nurse. She then worked as floor nurse on the medical-surgical floor and in the intensive care unit, and eventually became a supervisor and manager. Today, she is the Executive Director of Chase Point Assisted Living.
“Ever since I began working as a CNA, all the way to being an executive director today, it has been important for me to make some sort of impact on residents to make them feel special every single day” stated Wilcox. “I think that comes from my experience as a CNA 30 years ago.”
LincolnHealth offers a free, 10-week CNA training program at various times each year. Additionally, students accepted into the Apprenticeship Program are paid while they learn in exchange for a work commitment following graduation.
The next course begins January 9, 2018 and applications are being accepted through Friday, December 1, 2017. To request an application or for more information, please call the LincolnHealth Education Department at 563-4540.
Wilcox is one of many longtime LincolnHealth employees who began their healthcare careers as a CNA. Lori Lester, who is now a radiologic technologist, worked as a CNA for many years before going to school for radiology.
“If you enjoy being a CNA, you will have your eyes opened for what to expect for nursing and other healthcare careers” stated Lester. “Being a CNA is on-the-job training and was a great stepping stone for my healthcare career.”
Karen Sawyer, Chase Point Administrative Assistant & Activities Manager, became a CNA in 1987 through Miles. In addition to her CNA work, Sawyer managed the adult day service program for nearly 15 years. She is also the founder of the well-loved annual Country Fair, which began more than 20 years ago.
The CNA training class size is limited and classes are held three days a week for ten weeks. If students gain employment at LincolnHealth after completing the CNA class and meet certain criteria, they may be eligible for tuition reimbursement if they choose to continue their education, an excellent benefits package, and more.
To request an application for the CNA class or for more information, please call the LincolnHealth Education Department at 563-4540 or visit lincolnhealthme.org.