June 15-21 is National C.N.A. (Certified Nursing Assistant) Week. Certified nursing assistants began working under the Red Cross program during World War I where they were trained to care for wounded soldiers. The career has continued to evolve over the years, becoming a key part of the health care team at most all health care facilities.
Veterans Memorial Hospital utilizes C.N.A.’s in patient care on both the inpatient floor of the hospital and as Home Care Aides in the Community and Home Care Department. C.N.A.’s on the patient floor assist the patients with daily personal cares, eating, walking, and being an advocate during their hospitalization.
Carmen McCormick has been a C.N.A. since she was 16 and has continued the career her entire life, working at area nursing homes, providing private in-home care and working as a C.N.A. at Veterans Memorial Hospital.
“Taking care of patients, hand-in-hand care, is what I love. I also love being around others in the hospital and the different patients and ages that I care for,” states Carmen. “Taking care of elderly and the variety of care that we provide, plus just visiting with them is so rewarding. We always have good staff here too, at all times, to take care of the patients if a more critical need arises.”
“I also love orientating new C.N.A.’s to the hospital and even the nurses as well so they have a better understanding of the C.N.A. role in the hospital. We spend more time with the patients than anyone,” adds Carmen. “The C.N.A. career is very rewarding and the variety of care keeps it very interesting. I am especially proud my daughter, Kayla Ness, has followed in my footsteps with the same career.”
Corinne Cook, RN, teaches the Certified Nursing Assistant course at NICC and knows the importance and great need for this professional position. She states, “I have always had a great respect for the special people in the C.N.A. profession. I have been very fortunate to work alongside some of the best C.N.A.’s around!! I would best describe a C.N.A. as compassionate, caring and giving. If you are looking into a career, either new to the workforce or considering a change, what a better opportunity. NICC offers a 76-hour program which includes lecture, lab and clinicals to prepare you to enter this workforce. The C.N.A. courses are offered at various times and locations throughout the year. There are several opportunities for employment in the area. I would encourage everyone to take the time to give a special thanks to the C.N.A.’s that are currently providing that exceptional care to the ill and elderly.”
The Home Care Aide position at Veterans Memorial Hospital also requires this C.N.A. certification. Home Care Aides can provide assistance with personal cares including bathing, dressing, exercises, and support with other activities necessary to allow individuals to remain safely in the comfort of their own homes.
Home Care Aide, Lori Shogren, comments, “I have never done a job where when I don’t go to work, I miss it and I miss my people. I have had a lot of different jobs but as a Home Care Aide I get to know my patients better. I’m so happy doing what I’m doing.”
The hospital also utilizes students as part-time C.N.A.’s during high school which is a great way for students to explore medical careers. Many nursing students also work as C.N.A.’s while going to college for nursing to gain valuable experience.
“I became a C.N.A. because by father, Bob Burrett, was an EMT for many years and I loved how he served people,” states Penny Wheeler, C.N.A. “I have been a patient many times in my life, so I treat people as if they were family to me because they are someone’s family member. I love working here because it is a small community and we treat you as family. As a C.N.A., you can change so many people’s lives just by showing you care with your compassion, touching many hearts. My goal when I come to work every day, is to make at least one person smile, then I have done my job.”
For more information on the versatile Certified Nursing Assistant career, please call us at 563-568-3411.