Maximize your employment options by doing meaningful work with meaningful pay. Advanced Health Care’s ProCare Academy prepares people to be competent Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and opens the way to valuable and compassionate careers. You can earn this in-demand certification in about a month. Teaching centers in Tacoma and Olympia are regularly graduating students, many who have jobs in the field before their training is  even finished.

Certified Nursing Assistants provide basic care and assistance for many daily activities for those who require help. The tasks can vary greatly, depending on the needs of the client. It might be assisting with preparing food or bathing or being a companion for activities or appointments. There are jobs at hospitals, care facilities, and in-home settings. Though being a CNA is a gateway to nursing and other medical professions, many find it a fulfilling career.

RN Nancy Matthews
RN Nancy Matthews uses a mannequin for teaching techniques in realistic settings. Photo credit: Mary Ellen Psaltis

ProCare welcomes people from all walks of life. Past students have ranged in age from 16-years-old to 72-years-old. Many are in college. ProCare’s varied class times allow full-time students to do both. Employment for a CNA usually allows for flexible hours. It is possible to have a part- or full-time work with the hours that suit your life, because care providers are needed at all hours on all days.

Students enrolling in the program come with unique agendas. A few take the course because they are the primary care providers for a spouse or other loved ones whose needs have become increasingly greater as time passes. Initially the training was a way to augment their skill set and be more effective at home. It wasn’t about getting a job. However, as these students gain newfound confidence in their abilities, they often decide to do the state testing and become officially certified. It is impressive to hear about the number of people who enter the workforce after the family member passes away. Their personal understanding and experience with end-of-life care brings a deep connection with their care recipients.

Some people are already on the path to becoming a nurse, a physician, or have plans to enter a specific medical profession. Getting your CNA certification is an excellent stepping stone. Others find their lives moving in new directions, such as children growing up and out. Those with limited or no professional training but want to work, find becoming a CNA an excellent fit.

Each group of students varies greatly in age and intentions, but each time strong bonds grow within the class. Everyone is learning and moving forward together. Nancy Matthews, a Registered Nurse (RN) and teacher for ProCare, cites this as one reason she loves to teach. Two and a half years ago, she moved to Olympia to be close to her aging father. She stopped by Advanced Health Care for part-time work. Matthews happened to mention that she really wanted to teach. Over her 45 years as an RN, she’d worked in a hospital, a doctor’s office, a clinic, a school, and a camp. Julie Ferguson, Advanced Health Care co-owner and administrator, was within earshot and needed a teacher. Matthews has been teaching ever since.

ProCare Academy
Nancy Matthews, RN and teacher, demonstrates ways to properly and comfortably position a volunteer patient. Photo courtesy: Mary Ellen Psaltis

“It’s fun, energetic and very healing,” Matthews shares. The teaching staff at ProCare is made up of nine nurses. Each teacher brings their expertise and experience to the students.

Ferguson loves to see the fresh faces of incoming students. “They start scared, build confidence, and pass the test,” she says. She added that frequently graduates come to work for AHC.

CNA’s learn the 22 skills required for certification. ProCare Academy has a classroom and a practicum room with beds and a mannequin. Students also receive seven hours of HIV education and CPR training. Outside of the classroom, students complete 40 clinic hours at actual care sites under the supervision of their instructors. Upon successful completion, students receive a diploma and are ready for the state written and practical examinations.

There is a class schedule to meet your needs. Weekday classes meet for four weeks from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Evening classes run from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and take six weeks to complete. There is also an eight-weekend option. Classes usually have 15 to 18 students. Tuition, books, scrub top, and gait belt (all the things you need) cost $749. Home Care Aides (HCA) who desire to become a CNA can take the bridge program through ProCare. You can check the current schedules to see what will work for you.

ProCare Academy has locations in Tacoma and Olympia. Enrollment is ongoing. Call 1-888-960-2553 and find further information on their website. ProCare Academy is located within the Advanced Health Care’s offices. Talk with the helpful people at AHC to find the personal, compassionate care for those dear to you.

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