County Nursing Program Preparing Students to Combat CNA Shortage

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 7:49 PM EST
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CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) - Amid the pandemic, many hospitals and long-term care facilities are experiencing shortages of CNA’s.

Students at the Caribou Technology Center are preparing for a career in healthcare. As the pandemic lingers, there is an increased demand for Certified Nursing Assistants.

“Right now in healthcare it is very difficult to come by CNA’s and health care professionals in both long-term care settings and the hospital setting. There is definitely a shortage and a need for CNA’s,” Erica Ouellette said.

Ouellette works as a registered Nurse at Cary Medical Center. She also teaches students at the Caribou Tech Center, training them to become CNA’s.

“We do a lot of hands on preparation back here in the lab of the classroom. We do lecture as well and teach them how to be good healthcare professionals. Caring, empathetic, and competent of course,” Ouellette adds. “Where we really put our skills to use is in the clinical setting where we can go and take care of patients hands on.”

Among the students is Junior, Lacey O’Mara. She says healthcare is her passion.

“It’s a job you do when you’re really passionate about taking care of people,” O’Mara said. “Learning about what you want to do for the rest of your life is so exciting to me because I feel like I don’t have to wait anymore. Like I’m here… and it’s now, and I’m learning, going to clinical and meeting my residents…Falling in love with everything that we do.”

Given the need for CNA’s during the pandemic, O’Mara says this is a vital role.

“Without CNA’s a nursing home wouldn’t run. They are the people that are right there all the time,” O’Mara adds. “CNA’s are the residents second family, extended family. That’s what we are and I’m so excited to be that for them after this course and during it.”

There are a total of 19 students in the class and are hoping to begin clinical work in the hospital starting next week.

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