If you’ve been reading my last few entries, then you’re probably curious about how a committed nurse aide and educator could take on a career path in sales. I often ask myself this question too! The average tenure of a new teacher is just under 3 years. When you consider the 4+ years of training you’ve gone through just to get the job, that timeline just doesn’t make sense. Now consider a CNA with just 6 weeks of training -how long will they endure the job of CNA before they, too, become disillusioned?
I recognized that education wasn’t the only sector that is fighting to keep good employees from walking out the door. Healthcare organizations lose qualified RNs, LPNs and CNAs all the time. As I considered moving outside of education, I looked into organizations that also were in the business of service.
Serving others has been a strong thread throughout my career. When I started my first teaching job, one of my major initiatives was to learn how to best serve my students and parents. Serving others is all about your ability to add value to the organization, to students, or, specifically in our scenario, to the residents. I’d had experience serving residents at the ground level as a volunteer and CNA, but like teaching, I felt I could have an impact on a broader level.
Service has been a guiding principle in my life. To explain this, I need to take you back to second grade when my family moved outside of our small town to a farm in Minnesota. After the move, I asked my dad why we bought so much land. His response stays with me today: “I wanted to leave a piece of land better off than I found it.” Understanding the motivation behind this claim, I began to wonder how I might impact situations to leave PEOPLE better off than I found them. I decided that this would be a major life goal for me: to leave the person I’m engaging with a little better off than I found them. After feeling boxed in by the education system, healthcare seemed like a ripe opportunity for service.
My job search led me to a new company that was trying to impact the problem of training from a higher level. In 2006, Silverchair Learning (you may know them now as Relias) had set a goal for becoming the standard for continuing education in the long term care space. I was excited about being a part of this new way of thinking about training for CNAs.
I learned a lot about the challenges of training in long term care, and I heard time and again about the difficulties finding and keeping CNAs. I was engaged in my role of providing training for employees in senior care organizations, but I learned that we were only scratching at the surface of the problem.
Fast forward to 2018, and now we’re tackling the problem of training in long term care…only this time, we’re focused on helping organizations recruit, train and retain critical front line staff. Straightaway is committed to partnering with long term care organization to find and keep the right people. Our strategy is simple: Train them well, provide support tools for busy supervisors, and keep your new employees engaged and mission-driven.
I couldn’t be happier to leverage my experience in education anywhere else. I am passionate about ensuring that the elderly and most vulnerable people in our society are well cared for, because I’ve been responsible for them directly as a CNA. I also understand that the employees caring for these folks are tasked with an almost impossible mission. If I can help them via better training and technology, well then, I’m leaving them better off than I found them.