Cortland graduates five CNAs

submitted photo Recent CNA graduates from left are, front row, Chasity Sharp, Layton Bissett and Lauren McCrum; back row, Destiny Meador, instructor Kathy Supak and McKenzie Harsh pause briefly for a final group photo. All have signed on to begin their healthcare careers with Cortland Acres.

THOMAS — As COVID-19 continues to impact the nation, Cortland Acres maintains a pathway to meaningful healthcare careers for community members through its certified nursing assistant (CNA) Training course. Last week, five students were honored in two events; the first to introduce the new graduates to residents and then the official graduation ceremony celebrating their accomplishments. Each graduate has committed to join the Cortland staff.

Graduating CNAs introduced themselves to residents using Cortland’s internal channel 4. In Turn, each student gave a little bit of personal history and explained what working in healthcare meant to them. Layton Bissett, McKenzie Harsh, Lauren McCrum, Destiny Meador and Chasity Sharp bonded as classmates and supported one another as a team. Each of them commended their instructor, Kathy Supak, RN, for creating a positive learning environment. “Our instructor made learning fun,” announced Destiny Meador of St. George. “During the clinical portion of the class, we met our co-workers and worked with a few residents.”

The formal graduation ceremony utilized Facebook LIVE to allow friends and families to join the festivities. Cortland’s Medical Director, Dr. Margaret Kaiser, welcomed the students and acknowledged their accomplishments.

“It’s never been more important to have qualified and compassionate healthcare workers than right now,” explains Kaiser. “As the Medical Director at Cortland for the past twenty-eight years, I have witnessed the growth of Cortland Acres and the remarkable things they have done for this community and its citizens. Performing the duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant isn’t a job for just anyone. It takes sensitivity and empathy day in and day out. It takes enormous responsibility to abide by all the infection control guidelines to keep residents and staff safe during this pandemic. I was especially honored to be asked to welcome this latest class of dedicated CNAs to the Cortland family.”

Director of Staff Development Kathy Supak extended words of wisdom and charming stories from their time in class. Mutual admiration and respect were evident between Supak and her students.

Resident Care Coordinator Melissa Harr pinned each student with their official Certified Nursing Assistant pin, an honor usually given to a chosen family member or friend of the graduate. Still, COVID restrictions allowed for only a virtual audience. After receiving their diploma and pin, and Director of Social Services Ashlee Ketterman closed the ceremony with an empowering message. “It was an honor to participate in the CNA graduation,” explained Ketterman. “I am excited about the recent graduates as they begin this new adventure and look forward to working with them.”

Perhaps CNA graduate McKenzie Harsh said it best, “Kindness, one of the greatest gifts you can bestow upon another. If someone is in need, lend them a helping hand. Do not wait for a thank you. True kindness lies within the act of giving without exp1ectation of something in return.”

Cortland’s six-week CNA training program has two distinct phases — the first phase combines an initial three-week online educational component from Straightaway CNA Edge Training. It concludes with three weeks of hands-on practical training with Cortland residents under the supervision of their instructor, Kathy Supak.

Classes are forming now for Certified Nursing Assistant training. Contact Lois Nelson or Kathy Supak at Cortland Acres for more information.


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