HAMLET — Prestwick Village Assisted Living has teamed up with Richmond Community College to help Nursing Assistant I students develop into highly trained caregivers in the healthcare profession.
Prestwick Village Assisted Living is now serving as a clinical rotation site for hands-on learning as part of RichmondCC’s curriculum requirements. This allows students to gain experience working in senior living while completing their schooling, which typically will lead to job offers being extended to the students near graduation.
“Prestwick Village provides exceptional, personalized care for seniors ages 55 and up. As an all-inclusive senior living community, the amenities, activities, services and care focus on residents living their best lives by keeping their minds, bodies and spirits engaged,” said Prestwick Village Executive Director Ray Robinson. “The care team works together to create the most comfortable living environment that is like no other.”
The students assist residents with daily care, help them participate in activities and provide meaningful new relationships.
“I like being around the residents. A lot of them just need someone to talk to, so it’s good to be a listening ear and helping them. They appreciate the help,” said nursing assistant student Chaunteaus Walls.
Another RichmondCC nursing assistant student, Essence Gilbert, has experience working in healthcare, but she was on the administration side of the business where she interacted with nurses and doctors. This is her first time with hands-on care for others.
“It’s been a very great learning experience so far. Working with the older generation is amazing,” Gilbert said. “Hearing their stories and seeing how appreciative they are, it makes me so passionate about the job, and I know where I’m supposed to be.”
Gilbert has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but she has come back to school to start a new career path. After finishing the Nursing Assistant program this December, she plans to continue her education in nursing with the end goal to become a nurse practitioner.
Frank Rainwater was nervous about starting clinicals and having to apply what they had learned in the classroom.
“I’m a hands-on guy so being here in the facility has made two and two equal four,” Rainwater said. “Everybody here has their own background, and it’s just a rainbow of personalities. Everybody’s room is decorated differently, so you see someone’s lifetime and their interests and manners.”
RichmondCC Allied Health Programs Coordinator Leah Grooms noted that there is an increasing need for certified nursing assistants.
“We are preparing our students for critical positions in the healthcare system. For many, this will be the starting point to a lifelong career caring for others,” Grooms said.
Assisted living and senior care is only one area served mainly by certified nursing assistants, or CNAs. Graduates will also have opportunities to work in other settings such as hospitals or private practices.
The Nursing Assistant I program at RichmondCC offers the class in a variety of formats: day, evening or hybrid. While many hours are spent learning in a traditional classroom setting, the clinical rounds are a highly important part of the course curriculum.
“This is the first semester since COVID hit in spring of 2020 that any of the Nursing Assistant I students have been able to return to clinicals,” Grooms said. “We are excited that Prestwick Village is able to offer us this opportunity, and all of the staff and residents are so receptive of the students.”
Upon successful completion of the Nursing Assistant I course, students take an examination for listing and certification with the state registry of North Carolina for CNAs.
RichmondCC will be offering a Nursing Assistant I evening class Jan. 24 through Aug. 29. Class will meet Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Honeycutt Center on the Scotland County Campus. Mandatory orientation for this class will be held Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Honeycutt Center. For more information, call 910-410-1700 or visit www.richmondcc.edu/academics.