CNA: A multi-generational career choice

Posted:  Friday, February 17, 2017 - 8:45am

For a local mother and daughter, LincolnHealth’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course was the perfect opportunity to continue and begin their healthcare careers.

Julie O’Donnell knew that the LincolnHealth CNA program would allow her to continue providing care for people, something she had done for more than 20 years in private homes. She recently graduated from the program in fall of 2016 and is currently a CNA at Cove’s Edge.

Her daughter, Chrissy Barter, is also interested in a nursing career. “I thought this program would be a great way to see how I liked nursing and get my foot in the door. Eventually, I hope to become a registered nurse,” she explained. Barter is presently enrolled in the course and is part of the apprenticeship program which allows her to be paid while she learns. As a mother of a toddler, she stated, “I am helping support my family. I could not go without work for three months.”

When asked if they would have wanted to enroll in the class together, they both quickly said, “Yes.” “We could have been study buddies,” noted O’Donnell. “I think we would have gotten competitive,” added Barter.

O’Donnell is currently enjoying her job at Cove’s Edge. “I love the residents, but I really love working with and being around others. The team atmosphere is wonderful,” she described. “The great thing about this program is that if working at a long-term care facility is not for you, you can also work in assisted living, at the hospital or at other medical practices. A variety of work opportunities are available,” O’Donnell explained.

LincolnHealth’s free Certified Nursing Assistant course requires three days a week for three months and is taught by LincolnHealth CNA Educator Jennifer McIntire, RN. In addition to classroom work, students gain hands-on experience in the simulation lab and through clinical training at Cove’s Edge, St. Andrews Village and at the hospital.

Apprentice CNAs are paid while attending classes and commit to working at long-term care facilities affiliated with LincolnHealth for 18 months following graduation.

Although acceptance into the apprenticeship program does not guarantee employment after graduation, every effort is made to place graduates in jobs based on staffing needs and the apprentice’s qualifications. Class size is limited, so only a few applicants will be selected.

Anyone interested in the LincolnHealth CNA course or the apprenticeship program, should call the LincolnHealth Education Department at 563-4540. The next course begins April 18.

Applications will be accepted through March 15, and space is limited.