CNA Academy Opens Doors of Opportunity for Tomorrow’s Healthcare Workers
January marked the launch of an innovative training program, The John and Effie Macklin CNA Academy at Adventist HealthCare.
The academy is unique among education programs for certified nursing assistants (CNAs), offering free classroom and clinical training in a hospital rather than a community college or post-acute care setting.
The idea for the program had long been on Adventist HealthCare’s wish list. A generous donation from John and Effie Macklin made it possible.
Adventist HealthCare leaders, the program’s directors, and John and Effie Macklin welcomed the academy’s first 15-member cohort in a lively launch ceremony on Jan. 31. Cassandra Hairston, Vice President for Community Engagement with NIH Federal Credit Union and a member of the Shady Grove Medical Center Foundation Board, also attended. The credit union provided the funds to supply trainees with scrubs and other items.
Trainees spend four weeks in the classroom and then are supervised while learning at the bedside. After the program, they are equipped to sit for and pass the Maryland CNA certification exam. Once on the job, each new CNA is assigned an experienced preceptor, or mentor, to ensure their success.
The program provides many benefits to its participants:
- No cost - The average CNA course costs $1,300, and materials, exam fees and state registration are additional.
- Paid training - Candidates are selected from current employees or become employees and earn a salary while they learn.
- Real-life training - Candidates learn in the hospital setting to develop the skills that come with managing multiple patients with varying levels of need.
- Immediate employment - Successful completion of the program guarantees participants a job at an Adventist HealthCare facility and can open doors to additional career opportunities. Many CNAs later become nurses or study for other medical roles.
For Adventist HealthCare, the program will expand the pool of nursing assistants during a time of significant healthcare worker shortages. During the launch ceremony, trainees came forward to introduce themselves and express their heartfelt thanks to hospital leadership and to the Macklins. They explained how the program was allowing them to pursue their dreams of helping people and making a difference in a medical profession.
Those sentiments echoed the words of Effie Macklin, who noted she and her husband made this financial commitment to “honor our mothers,” both of whom were nursing assistants. Effie also shared with the candidates what she and John had learned from their parents: “Be tenacious in what you do. Make it not just about a job, but a passion to make a difference in someone’s life.”