Friend of Chesapeake, John DeLuca of Easton, launched the TREES (Training Recruitment Education and Employment) Scholarship Fund this year to help build the pool of compassionate and skilled nursing assistants in the area.
To answer the community need for Certified Nursing Assistants, Chesapeake College piloted this new training program with recent graduates of the college’s English as a Second Language classes.
Eight students were chosen for the scholarship program and the classes began in January. Seven women completed the four-month program and all of them passed their certification tests. Instructors Melanie Ball- Pierson and Denise Kline taught the cohort.
“These women were chosen for the program because they were all highly motivated and compassionate,” Instructor Denise Kline said. “Both of those attributes served them well in the course and will make them outstanding employees. They all had to make sacrifices just to get through the training, so they were wonderful students. And they’re compassionate and kind. Those are things that can’t be taught. These students see caring for the elderly and people with special needs as a mission, and they will bring that perspective to their work every day.”
Kline worked on language and other soft skills, while Ball-Pierson taught the nursing and technical skills. This cohort received 45 hours of clinical training, plus 120 hours of classroom training. The usual CNA course usually requires 100 classroom hours.
“Those extra 20 hours really helped us explain and explore. As Melanie (Ball-Pierson) taught and demonstrated a nursing skill, I could suggest ways of talking to the patient while the skill is being performed,” Kline said.
Of the seven graduating students, four also chose to take the Geriatric Nursing Assistant certification exam and passed.
Kline said some of the students are already looking ahead to next steps in their education. One student will take credit classes this fall with the eventual goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Two are considering pursuing EMT training while they work as CNAs.
Find information about other Health Professions here http://www.chesapeake.edu/health-professions
CUTLINE: The first TREES graduates are: Lorena Campos-Cortes, Jazmin Cruz-Trejo, Maria Fisher, Kimberly Reyes-Erazo, Greisy Sanchez-Herrera, Joselyn Velasquez and Lesly Velasquez.