Maine Veterans’ Home in Machias takes great pride in the many caretakers in our communities. It’s even more significant for us to feature an employee who exemplifies everything our caretakers strive to be.
Earlier this year, our very own Caitlin Atkinson was awarded the Cerner Nursing Assistant (CNA) of the Year Scholarship. Caitlin, who works as a nursing assistant in the memory care unit, received the scholarship at the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC) Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
MVH Machias Nursing Assistant Wins CNA Award
Caitlin’s nomination was reviewed by a panel of judges from AANAC who reviewed more than 50 nominations for this year’s CNA award. The selection uses different metrics to help narrow down candidates. Metrics included employment longevity, interaction with residents, family and staff, coaching or mentoring abilities, work ethic, and quality of work.
What stands out the most for Caitlin is her ability to recognize areas that can be improved and taking it upon herself to make that improvement possible.
“One of the residents had symptoms of sundowning, and I found that he liked watching movies on a tablet,” Caitlin says. “I went to the activities director and told her, and she purchased iPads for some of the residents to help them with their sundowning.” It was actions like these which led Marcia Jackson, the administrator of Maine Veterans’ Home in Machias, to nominate Caitlin for the award.
What’s Next for Caitlin?
Caitlin is currently attending the University of Maine at Machias and will be transferring to the University of Maine at Fort Kent in the fall. The $3,000 awarded in the scholarship will be put toward Caitlin’s tuition as she continues working through the nursing program. After completing her studies, she hopes to work at Maine Veterans’ Homes or with a community with similar values. And after a few years of developing her professional career, Atkinson could see herself going back to a university.
“I would like to work for a few years after completing the nursing program and go back and study how to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner or something similar to that field,” she says.
A Day in the Life at Maine Veterans’ Homes
A typical day for Caitlin at Maine Veterans’ Home in Machias starts with the afternoon shift, where she begins working with team members to prep dinner for the residents later that evening. Once dinner is over, the residents attend various activities scheduled throughout the day within the Machias community.
Activities like music groups, bingo and game night are only a handful of what’s available for residents. Caitlin’s favorite activity with residents is the exercise group.
“I enjoy getting to interact back and forth with the residents,” she says. “We usually kick a ball back and forth or other physical exercises. You can tell they enjoy getting up and being physical. It’s easily one of the activities the residents enjoy the most.”
Representing the Core Values at MVH
Caretakers at Maine Veterans’ Homes are instilled with core values which guarantee the highest quality of care for our residents. These values are what drive Caitlin and other team members to be the best in their field.
“We work together as a team and everybody gets along,” she says. “We respect each other, and there’s just a lot of good core values we have that work well with all of us on the team.”
For Caitlin, respect and teamwork are keys for success.
“It’s important to show veterans a lot of respect,” she says. “When working as a team, we try to help each out when needed. We do whatever is needed for the veterans.”
Learn More About Working at MVH
Maine Veterans' Homes have been called some of the best places to work in Maine. Learn more about our benefits and values, and see our open positions, when you explore our careers page.