With a CNA shortage affecting health care throughout the country, Maine Veterans’ Homes - Scarborough has developed an inventive program to attract people to the field.
The program not only pays students while they earn their CNA certification, but for those for whom English is a second language, there’s a tutoring component.
MVH - Scarborough recently graduated its first class of seven students in the “Learn and Earn” program, many of them also taking part in the English Language Learner program.
Learn more about this new program and find out how you can get involved.
CNA Certification at Maine Veterans’ Homes
CNA teaching institutions in Maine must partner with a health care organization to perform the clinical portions of their programs. Scarborough Adult Education has partnered with MVH before, but the difference this time is these students had already been working at MVH as unit helpers.
“The students are intertwined with MVH – they’re already part of it,” said Renee LaPlante, director of nursing.
The program ensures students are a good fit for MVH and shows that the organization is not only willing to help their staff grow, but is actively trying to remove barriers to help students succeed.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide exceptional care to our veterans and find people who are passionate about providing that care,” LaPlante said.
Teaching English at Maine Veterans’ Homes
For some students who participate in the CNA program at MVH, English is a second language. That’s where Bo Hewey comes in.
Hewey, who’s from the Saco-Old Orchard Beach Adult Education program, prepared the MVH English language learners for their CNA tests, along with improving their communication skills on the job.
“Initially, the students had a fair amount of anxiety about the CNA test and their ability to succeed and become CNAs,” Hewey said. “It was important for me to start with lessons that were not specifically about passing the CNA exam for several reasons.
“The most important reason was that I needed to establish a positive, trusting relationship with my students so they would believe in me, and then trust in my judgment when I showed confidence that they could pass the test.”
Hewey taught them the importance of listening and speaking skills to help them be more assertive on the job and to be able to learn from co-workers. He said he spent time with the students on study skills, but most of all, he tried to boost the students’ belief in themselves.
Benefits of the MVH CNA Certification Program
CNA instructor Anne Summer said she’s noticed a marked difference between students who are in the “Learn and Earn” program and those who aren’t.
“Two students in the class were non-MVH community enrollees. They were both juggling evening and weekend jobs, over and above the course's classroom and clinical hours. Their fatigue and stress levels were notably greater on occasions than their MVH counterparts,” Summer said.
She added, “I think it is significant as well that the MVH cohort had nearly perfect attendance records for both class and clinical hours, compared to the community students; I am sure that being on payroll provided an extra incentive. It would influence me.”
Summer said students quickly grasped concepts such as the differences required in skilled care, once again because the MVH students already knew some of the folks transitioning through MVH. That’s because they had already witnessed admission, rehabilitation, and discharge activities as examples.
How MVH Benefits, Too
Besides the obvious benefit to the students, Summer said MVH benefits from the CNA certification program in many ways.
“The students' investment in their learning certainly was derived, in part, from their own personal values and drive,” she said. “Their active interest and participation in their learning was stoked by interest in their home turf, and the people and staff they already knew.
“They looked forward to having their roles change and expand. The work is hard, but all of them were leaning in, both literally and figuratively, to become more involved and honoring their commitment to MVH.”
As the course progressed, Summer said students verbalized a growing understanding that they already represented MVH in ways publicly and professionally; they shared that they wanted that representation to be a good one.
“MVH benefits greatly from folks who are proud of being part of MVH,” she said.
The CNA students at MVH - Scarborough are already well on their way to being part of that proud MVH community.
Learn More About Becoming a CNA at Maine Veterans’ Homes
We’re pleased to offer an award-winning workplace where we can serve those who have served us.
When you begin a career at Maine Veterans’ Homes, you’ll become part of a close-knit family that’s dedicated to upholding our values.
You’ll also enjoy the following perks:
- Competitive pay and a full benefits package
- The training, tools, and supplies you need to make a difference right away
- Insurance options and earned benefit time
Learn more about working as a CNA at Maine Veterans’ Homes to see if we’re the right fit for you.