by Sue Spradlin

Maia is thrilled—she’ll soon be starting her new job as a Patient Care Assistant at UC Medical MaiaCenter in Cincinnati.  Maia just completed the 5 WK STNA/PCA PLUS class through Great Oaks at the Ohio Means Jobs Center.  She chose Great Oaks because she had heard great things about the program and the school had the certifications she needed to advance in her career.  Her plan is to become a registered nurse and then a midwife.   The plan was formed after the experiences she had having children in the hospital.  The dedicated hospital staff and the patient-focused environment there cemented her desire to pursue healthcare as a career.

The 5 WK STNA/PCA PLUS class includes the State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) and Patient Care Assistant (PCA) training and certification along with two weeks of employability and job seeking skills training.

The hands-on aspect of the class was the most important part of the class for Maia.  During the STNA and PCA classes, students are in a lab setting each day.  The lab simulates a health care unit where Registered Nurse instructors teach and demonstrate the skills needed to train students for jobs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and home health and hospice settings.   “Being able to turn mannequins and interact with the other classmates and the instructors really helped me understand things it in a way that was more personal. When you are learning from people around you, you pick up things you may not have seen yourself.  It sometimes helps you understand it better.”

Maia and the other PLUS students also had opportunities to meet employers from many local health care facilities who visited the PLUS classroom.  According to Maia, “Employers are really confident about the Great Oaks and their students’ abilities because they know we’re prepared…they know we can just get right into our job duties.”

Maia said her instructors encouraged her and her fellow students, “to be the best versions of ourselves and set us up with the clinical and soft skills that we need for the job.  All of the RNs were really inspiring…they have been where we are and they know we can do it too.”  Maia will soon have an opportunity to prove her teachers correct and she’ll do so with confidence and compassion.