By Joshua Wallace, administrator Ohman Family Communities

One of the most noble and necessary careers that exists in the marketplace today, is a caregiver.  More and more people are talking about it, because they are in high demand. At face value when people hear the word caregiver, I think they assume that it just caring for an individual, but it is much more. The clinical knowledge and practical skills a person gains are fundamental to any career one would pursue in the field of healthcare. 

During my time while earning my administrators license, I was working with a director of nursing who spent more than 20-plus years working in the hospital setting and another 10-plus years in post-acute and long-term care. She looked at me one day and said, “If you want to truly understand the operations of our building, participate in the 76-hour state-tested nursing assistant course.”  She went on to explain how it would help me effectively lead and manage because of an in depth understanding of what happens in patient care conducted  behind closed doors. So, I took her up on the suggestion. 

It was amazing to me the detail and clinical teaching during the lecture portion of the training.  More importantly, I am a hands-on learner.  Therefore, the hands-on practice while on the floor, caring for residents, really taught me how to apply those clinical principles. I remember when our instructor led us to the nursing floor and said, “I am going to teach you the reason we use a mechanical lift when transferring people from the bed to the wheelchair,” and then requested a volunteer.  I volunteered and was asked to lay in the bed. I still remember being suspended in the air during the transfer and thought to myself, “I am glad I followed Catherine’s advice to take this course, because I was truly able to vicariously enter the experience of our staff and realize how vitally important are their tasks of caring for the safety and wellbeing of our patients/residents.” 

 I had an opportunity last week to address a new class of nursing assistants in our Briar community.  I really wanted to stress one fundamental point: we have an opportunity, on a daily basis, to make the lives of others better, and this is our focus.  Because of our building projects and growth plans, we are always seeking to add to our team the top talent in the market place.  Often, I am asked who is a qualified individual to join your efforts?

Marie Springer our instructor for the nurse’s aide training competency and evaluation program, (NATCEP, also known as STNA) for our Holly community, articulated it well in saying, “We are looking for individuals who are caring, empathetic, patient, honest and trustworthy.” She adds, “It is very important that our students exhibit team-player qualities. We look for those who are dependable, punctual, good listeners and eager to learn.”

Tamika James, another program coordinator and instructor for the current class at Briar shared, “Our goal is patient safety.” 

“This is a great group,” added Tomika. “They want to help each other out and that is what we like to see. In the beginning, they didn’t know each other, and as the time together progressed, they have become friends. This is important because they are going to be working closely with each other and others on into the future.” When our students finish the program they will receive a certificate and be fully prepared for the State Test.

DeAnna Duke, a member of the current STNA class, told us she always wanted to be a nurse. Until recently, she held a position at Walmart; it was there, a customer informed her of the available classes at Briar. She immediately set the interview and was accepted into the class. “I have a big heart for people,” she says. “And I like caring for others.” In the beginning, she was unsure of her abilities, but finds the encouraging, thorough method of instruction, reassuring. “I was nervous about the tests,” she says. “But you know you just have to do the work.” She is looking forward to her first day out on the floor caring for residents. She was told by many that becoming an STNA initially is a good strategy and will support her future aspirations. This fall, DeAnna will begin classes for pre-nursing at Kent State Ashtabula. 

Belinda Calhoun comes to our communities with 20 years’ experience as a caregiver. Her mother-in-law worked for the Ohman Family in the past and went on to be a Nursing Assistant at the Cleveland Clinic. “It is my passion, caring for people,” she says. When credentialed as an STNA she will join the team at Briar.

This class is not only for females, we are seeing a rise in applications from men as well.  Stephen Druhot, a male participant in this class, has worked in dietary at Briar and recently decided to further his experience. “My gramma worked in a senior-living setting,” he says. “I would go with her and thought it was so cool.” He, too, is looking forward to a role that provides more interaction with the residents. As a Cardinal High School student, he attended Auburn Career Center receiving training as a patient care technician and found out about this opportunity through a job fair. Stephen will graduate Cardinal this coming year, 2019.

If you are interested in learning about a future in health care, contact any of the Ohman Family Communities including our home care division. It is an opportunity for work in a profession that impacts lives daily. Further, it has the capacity to kick start your career. Ohman Family Communities is dedicated to the training and development of the workforce in Geauga County and its surrounding communities.  We are investing in individual’s lives by providing training at no cost ($1,000-plus value), followed up with employment opportunities across our continuum of health care.


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