By Josh Ryan, Manager of SMB Sales at Straightaway
When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
Like most 18-year-olds, I was excited for the next step of my journey, but I had no idea which direction to head. I had a passion for helping people and had been working various service jobs throughout high school. A friend suggested that nursing might be a good profession for me because of this.
With no certifications or qualifications, I didn’t know where to start. I had volunteered a bit at the local nursing home in town, and it just so happened that they were looking for CNAs! I submitted my application, got the job, and then went right back to school for my CNA certification.
I took my training seriously. I was lucky enough to find a facility that valued education and paid for my certification. While I learned a lot in training (I can still remember the 8 steps to handwashing) my REAL education started on my first day on the floor. I realized soon that my training didn’t prepare me for the most important part of the job – the residents.
How could textbook-based training held 30 minutes away from the residents I’d be helping possibly prepare me for the unique situations I’d face as a new CNA? Dealing with unique and difficult residents, cleaning up various and sundry messy situations, and building relationships with people who were nearing the end of their life were all things I hadn’t considered in training. Though I knew to call the coroner when a resident passed away, there was no page in Mosby’s about how to handle the loss of someone I had grown close to.
I was proud to be a nurse aide. From the specialized, post-secondary training, to getting my first pair of scrubs (teal with a monkey print, in case you were wondering!), I was set on a career path with unlimited potential to learn and grow. However, I began to wonder about the training I would receive as I grew further in my career as a nurse aide. Was all healthcare training like this? Do I really learn best on the job? How could I hope to be successful if the divide between education and on-the-job experience was so wide?
My experience as a CNA was part of the reason I decided to get a degree in education when I eventually went off to college. Both of my parents were teachers, and I saw firsthand the impact dedicated educators can have on their students. I knew that my career path would eventually lead me back to healthcare, but I also knew that I needed to approach it from a new angle…