By Seth Coley, Customer Success Specialist at Straightaway Health Careers
When asked if I would be interested in going through a CNA training program here in North Carolina, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. A chance to gain some experience directly related to my industry, while gaining a certification? What could go wrong? Looking back, I probably should have picked up on many of my co-workers sharing their, “glad it’s you and not me” sentiment. Instead, I maintained my sense of excitement for the coming month of class and, armed with a new Batman lunchbox, set out to learn the ropes of CNA life.
Traditional Classroom Training
Upon initially arriving at the training site, I was met with a sensation that I thought I’d left back in college – the dreaded first day of class. Who are my classmates? Will we get along with one another? Where do I sit? What is the instructor like? Will I have homework? I hoped not! I’m pleased to say that these notions were put to rest quickly. I could tell within the first hour that this was an instructor who truly cares for her students, providing excellent examples of first-hand experiences throughout her lectures. These were not just for entertainment, but they helped to paint a picture of life as a CNA. Now, if only I could say the same for the PowerPoint slides. Picture this: a solid dark blue background, endless bullet points, and some Microsoft Office 98 clipart images sprinkled in. Needless to say, not the most riveting content any of us had ever seen.
While I initially thought the slides were created by the instructor, I soon learned that they were, in fact, the official slides used for NC CNA training courses. I frankly found this shocking. This was how CNAs across the state were learning the material? For me, it was because of my instructor’s ability to keep things interesting that I was able to remain engrossed for 4-6 hours at a time.
The Importance of Labs for Engagement
While I’m convinced the slides have caused narcolepsy rates to spike among millennials here in the state, I found that our lab time was an essential and enlightening component of the course structure. It was particularly key in keeping me engaged. Splitting the days between lecture and lab time kept me on my toes. Just getting up and moving around probably had something to do with it as well!
Going into the lab portion, I thought I had a good handle of how to go about at least some of the skills. I was sorely mistaken. Even something as simple as washing your hands has a plethora of meticulous steps that we, as students, had not yet thought about. Lab time proved to be an eye-opening experience of just how many steps each skill encompasses. I realized right away that learning and committing these to memory would be the most challenging aspect of the class, hands-down.
CNA School’s Effect on Daily Life
While I’ve spoken to the course itself, a key factor for anyone interested in the class is how the training will affect their daily lives. I’ll admit that I was lucky in this sense, as attending the course was essentially my full-time job, fully supported by my company and team. I wasn’t missing out on a paycheck, I didn’t need to plan around class hours, and I was able to maintain the schedule I had grown accustomed to. This is most certainly not the norm for those going through a CNA program. Just using my classmates as an example, everyone was working at least one job – some were even juggling two. Between having to attend class while making ends meet, a day off was a foreign concept to many. In addition to this, several also had children. A sick child guaranteed missing a day’s worth of information.
All these various points comprised the day-to-day of the classroom portion of CNA class. While the instructor and lab training were top notch, the quality of the slides serve as a significant mark against the training on its own. Students must be engaged if they are expected to effectively learn and retain material of any kind, and the PowerPoint presentations provided were most certainly not hitting the mark. Then, there were of course the times students simply were unable to see the material due to extenuating life circumstances. All of these deficiencies with the course are addressed with CNA Edge.
CNA Edge as a Solution
Maybe it’s because I myself am a millennial, but having been through CNA Edge as well I can safely say that the video format is far more engaging and memorable than a bit of word art next to some key points. Sure, sitting through hours of informative content would be tiresome for anyone after a while, but this is circumvented through the inclusion of activities and discussion prompts. Regarding how daily lives are affected by attending a course, CNA Edge has a remedy for that as well. For those states that allow online CNA courses, CNA Edge can be utilized in this manner. Rather than students needing to set aside specific hours each day to attend class, they can log on at their convenience from home. Just from having spoken to those in my class, this was something many of them wished they could’ve done. Of course, this doesn’t take the place of instructor-led lab time. Such time is essential to acquire a firm grasp on the skills students will inevitably be tested on as well as provide some insight as to what can be expected when attending clinicals. Even with this pseudo exposure prior, I soon learned that clinicals are another beast entirely – one that I was woefully unprepared for…