From Patient Check-ins to Patient Check-ups

From behind her desk at a clinical family practice, Ashley would greet and check-in patients with a smile, but there was something inside her that wanted more. Ashley was good at what she did, but she had a drive and an interest in healthcare that caught the attention of her supervisor and nursing colleagues. So much so, she’d sneak away from her post to shadow LPNs gathering vitals.

“The more I was learning about the patients, the more I felt like I could do at the clinic,” she said.

Working full time, Ashley enrolled in the weekend FastForward certified nursing assistant program at Mountain Empire Community College. In addition to the training’s flexibility, she completed the training without paying a dime.

During her training, the instructor would scene set different situations CNAs face on a regular basis and then challenge the class with follow up questions. This helped ensure the class was thinking critically about the subject matter and how they can best help each patient. In addition to the scenario training exercises, Ashley and her classmates would also go through lessons that involved making people comfortable in bed, when to report things up to a nurse and care techniques like catheter cleaning and feet washing.

Ashley completed her FastForward training and earned her CNA. But she isn’t stopping there. This fall, Ashley is taking the next step towards becoming an RN.

“I like to learn. I want to know more and more,” she said. “I ask my boss lots of questions and she’s helped expose me to new things beyond taking vitals.”

Through her FastForward training, Ashley has created a foundational knowledge that will help her as she completes the three-year nights and weekends nursing program at MECC.

“I have the groundwork, now I’m ready to learn everything in-depth,” she said.

For now, she’s working towards her goal of becoming an RN. One day, she hopes to get her BSN, but for now – she’s taking it one step at a time.