The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Nurse aide program to return

Photo by Susan Hamiton

Logan Evans
managing editor

After lying stagnant for years, the Certified Nurse Aide program on TR Campus is returning this fall in full swing. 

Students can register for the 100-hour program that will train them to enter the healthcare profession as a certified nurse assistant starting Oct. 4. This comes during a nursing shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In times like these, there’s a critical need for CNAs,” program director Varnessa Dorsey said. 

CNAs are responsible for performing much of the hands-on care required in healthcare facilities. Because of their close proximity to patients, they’re instrumental in providing nurses with information that might otherwise go unnoticed. 

“We need people who have a genuine interest in caring for people,” Dorsey said. “It’s a lot like taking care of your grandmother, only you get paid to do it.” 

Students enrolled in the program will learn the ins and outs of the job complete with hands-on trading and clinical rotations at local facilities including Discovery Village, a senior living home in Southlake, and Westpark, a rehabilitation center in Hurst.

While technical training is a major part of the program, just as big a focus lies on learning to foster an emotional connection with patients.

“One of the biggest components of the CNA program is teaching mindfulness,” Dorsey said. “You need to block things out and be fully there with that person.”

Dorsey said she strives to teach her students how to learn and understand a patient’s background.

“You can’t take care of me unless you know my story,” she often repeats to students. 

TR nursing instructor Tamesha Sneed said the treatment of mental health is something that often goes overlooked in the medical field. 

“When you have a program that speaks to the emotions of a person, that will help them to have a holistic care approach to the patients,” she said. 

Sneed said students hoping to become nurses have a lot to gain by training as CNAs. Hospitals like to hire from within, she said, so becoming a working CNA is a foot in the door.

“Hospitals are looking for nurses and are offering a lot of sign-on bonuses because of COVID,” she said.

While COVID-19 has put a spotlight on healthcare workers, Varnessa Dorsey doesn’t believe this impacts the approach she takes to teaching. 

“You’re always using standard precautions,” she said. “But I think now, it just makes you more aware and more conscientious.” 

At one time, the CNA program was a hallmark of TR Campus, but when the previous program directory retired, TCC struggled to find someone to fill the role. 

Dorsey, who had previously applied as a nurse, was deemed to be a fitting replacement, given her diverse background in teaching, rehab and pediatrics. 

“We’re very excited about the relaunch of this program,” TR Assistant Dean of Nursing Virginia Covington said. 

The application window for the CNA program runs through Oct. 22. Classes will start Nov. 1 and run for 10 weeks.

Students who complete the CNA program can choose to continue at TCC with Medical Assistant, Nursing and Vocational Nursing programs.

Dorsey believes the key to following in a career in healthcare is to be attuned to others.

“You have to own your attitude, your mindset,” she said. “You have to learn how to humble yourself so that you can tend to the needs of someone else.”

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