Blessing CNA training program reaches milestone with 100th graduate

Blessing Hospital CNA Training Program students and teacher copy

Blessing Hospital CNA training Program student/employees Ben Fairbanks and Pascy Davis develop their skills at taking vital signs under the guidance of Cathleen Koch, CNA instructor. | Photo courtesy of Blessing Hospital

QUINCY — Blessing Hospital’s certified nursing assistant training program recently reached a milestone when its 100th graduate passed the Illinois state certification examination.

“To think that 100 people have come through this course over the first two years and started their healthcare careers, it’s really amazing,” Jonna Egan, program coordinator for Nursing Professional Development, said in a press release. “It’s been a really amazing way to help support the bedside staff and to jump start people’s careers in healthcare.”

Blessing created the CNA training program in 2020 because it could not find enough already-certified nursing assistants to fill open positions. Through the program, people who meet all other job qualifications are hired by Blessing Hospital into an open CNA position. They are paid to take the four-week, 120-hour classroom and hands-on clinical course as part of their job orientation, pass the state-certification test and then work for Blessing as a CNA. 

Approved by the State of Illinois Department of Public Health, the program has a first-time exam pass rate of 95 percent.

“They are very complimentary of the program,” Egan said. “IDPH has told us we are one of the most successful in the state, both in pass rate and in student interest.”

Three registered nurses, along with Egan, teach in the program.

Just as impressive as the numbers the staff has delivered over two years are the student success stories.

“I have a graduate who is an EEG tech now,” Egan shared. “She’s an incredible success story. She was in my first class and began her career with Blessing in environmental services. She joined the CNA training program to enhance her career by learning to provide bedside care. It worked.” 

With the support of the Blessing Foundation, a bariatric mannequin has been bought on which students will develop some of their clinical skills.

“It’s going to be a game-changer,” Egan said of the mannequin. “It will help us teach kind, compassionate, dignified care for our bariatric population.”

To learn more about the Blessing Hospital CNA training program, call Egan at 217-223-8400, ext. 4834; Alex Burry, talent acquisition specialist, at ext. 6868; or click on this link

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