Associate Spotlight: A Place to Grow

Bedford Falls associate pursues professional development opportunities

Woman in senior living facility bistro

Sazan Rashid joined Bedford Falls five years ago and served as a licensed nursing assistant (LNA) for about half of those. She immediately enjoyed the work, the people and culture of the community.

“Everybody gets along, and everybody does their jobs,” she said. “It’s a great place.”

Yet, she wanted more. Since emigrating from the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq more than 23 years ago, Sazan has pushed herself to grow professionally and to set an example for her three daughters.

So, when the 48-year-old heard about a grant-funded program that provided an opportunity for LNAs to become Medical Nursing Assistants, she accepted the challenge.

A New Hampshire Job Training Fund Grant provided Benchmark with almost $68,000 to train personal care assistants, LNAs and MNAs. The assisted living facility provided the site for Sazan to do her clinical studies and Manchester Community College provided the online theoretical instruction.

“It was good,” Sazan said. “It made it easier.”

Both roles are ‘fun’
As an MNA, she starts by checking vitals like blood pressure and recording them. She then administers and checks medication, basically serving as “a care partner of the RN/LPN,” according to New Hampshire Board of Nursing. As an LNA, she changed beds and helped with personal needs like bathing, dressing, eating and more. Comparing the MNA and LNA positions, she said:

“They’re both fun.” But in her current role, she says, you need to think more critically.

The 48-year-old began her health career at Omnicare, a pharmacy services provider for long-term care and post-acute facilities where she helped provide medications to nursing homes and other locations. Her move to Bedford Falls was a career improvement, she says, as was becoming an LNA and now MNA. Looking ahead, Sazan isn’t sure where her path will lead her.

“I would like to do more, if there’s other stuff I can do,” she said.

A new opportunity
According to Noeline Alberts, RN, a regional director of operations at Benchmark, this is the second year that Benchmark has been approved for the grant. She credits Rob Memmolo, executive director at Bedford Falls, with sponsoring several associates.

“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 noted.

The Job Training Fund is available to businesses located in New Hampshire and to businesses intending to locate in the state, according to their website. The companies must pay quarterly taxes to the state unemployment trust fund.

In 2001, the New Hampshire Board of Nursing updated their 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 and has met 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.”

Kristine Dudley, director of workforce development at Manchester Community College, explained that she worked closely with Sazan and with Bedford Falls.

“Sazan was very engaged and excited to start the training!” Kristine said. “She was extremely dedicated and committed to completing the program.  She was very successful through the training, and I’m sure she continues that success in her MNA role at Bedford Falls.”

Two female nurses wearing PPE masks

Bedford Falls