Associate Spotlight - Finding a Career, Not Just a Job
After earning her licensed nursing assistant, LNA, at Salem High School almost seven years ago, Alexandria “Alex” Andrade went right to work at Greystone Farm at Salem. “I love it here,” she said.
Not only has the community been supportive of her need to balance work and family, but thanks to a partnership between Benchmark Senior Living and Manchester Community College, she was able to earn her license as a Medical Nursing Assistant, MNA.
A New Hampshire Job Training Fund Grant provided Benchmark with almost $68,000 to train personal care assistants, LNAs and MNAs. Greystone Farm’s sister community, Bedford Falls, provided the site for Alex to do her clinical studies while Manchester Community College offered the required online theoretical instruction.
Alex said she would have academic work twice a week online and then have the clinical portion at Bedford Falls, where she would apply the skills under supervision. There were five others in her cohort.
“Alex has been a great asset to Greystone Farms. She is always willing to help out in any capacity,” said Lisa Collins, Harbor Care Director at Greystone Farms. “She has a great team attitude.”
A new opportunity
Noeline Alberts, RN, supports Greystone as its regional director of operations, and said this is the second year that Benchmark has received the grant.
“We use it to elevate current associates while also hiring for entry level PCA (Personal Care Assistants) roles and then train them to be hands-on caregivers,” she said.
The Job Training Fund is available to businesses located in New Hampshire and to companies intending to locate to the state. The Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) is a key partner to the Job Training Fund.
In 2001, the New Hampshire Board of Nursing updated the Administrative Rules to add a new designation of MNA to the previous roles of Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA). An MNA is an LNA who has completed 30 hours of theoretical and 30 hours of clinical content, among other qualifications.
The certificate program “covers all of the basic principles and techniques of medication administration including an overview of common drugs, their effects and side effects, and key safety issues that include medication interactions, common errors, over-the-counter medications, and medication use in older adults.”
A place to grow
Alex is the mother of a four-year-old daughter and is expecting a son in May. When she was first pregnant, Alex was working second shift which presented a challenge. The Greystone team was very supportive, she said.
“They were really helpful with getting me on the first shift,” she says.
The 25-year-old also appreciates the flexibility the company provides if the unexpected comes up, as it sometimes does when parenting. “I love my job, but my family comes first,” Alex said.
Once the kids are in school, Alex would like to continue her education and earn a nursing degree. For now, she says that part of her job, as well as that of other staff, is to help keep the nursing staff informed if they notice anything out of the ordinary. Noticing something as simple as a cough could make a big difference.
“I’ve grown a lot,” Alex said. “I love all the residents. They’re like my own family.”