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Not Just Employment, Education – Nashville’s Friendship Manor Now Offering In-House CNA Courses

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Friendship Manor has been a staple in the community for 50 years. Recently, the facility has begun to offer classes to educate Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs) from within the employees there.

Michelle Krawiecki, RN, has been leading the facility in a new venture of offering CNA classes on-site at the facility.

It has been an exciting adventure, not only for Michelle, but the facility as well.

The process started in February. The idea was discussed as teaching a class and training their own staff, not only as a way to potentially bring on more CNAs, but to offer a resource to the community.

Krawiecki’s own experience made her the ideal choice to spearhead this initiative. She worked as a LPN for 13 years before furthering her education and completing her RN degree in 1996.

Since then, Krawiecki has added a variety of certificates and skills to her to her portfolio. She has over 17 years of experience as a surgical nurse, is PICC line and rehab certified, holds a Food Sanitation certificate and is in the process of getting her CPR instructor certificate.

Not only has Krawiecki proven to be a leader with a variety of strengths, she also has longevity. She has been with Friendship Manor since starting as a CNA in 1976. Michelle lives in Nashville with her husband and has two daughters.

Getting approval for the CNA program at the facility has been a lengthy process, but management felt that Krawiecki would be well qualified for the job. “As a nurse, you teach every day of your life,” she stated.

The process first started with an application to Public Health.

That was a “tedious task” and required much communication between Michelle and the Public Health team. Using the Public Health module, Michelle had to write a syllabus and develop a class schedule. She had to obtain a BNATP certificate – Basic Nursing Assistance Training Program and complete a “Train the Trainer” course though Lakeland College. Through that course, she had to be tested and “prove her skills” to receive three certifications. The course required she learn regulations of the teaching program and was six weeks in length and required a “face to face” exam in Effingham.

Friendship Manor has adapted space for Krawiecki to teach. Two resident rooms have been converted for her use; one as a classroom and one for lab work.

The program is nine weeks long and she has a capacity for eight students. The program is built to accommodate a worker’s schedule, as students are able to work at the facility on non-school days.

Another benefit about the program is that it is free. This is away Friendship Manor is able to offer a resource to the community. At this time, the program is limited to Friendship Manor employees, but if someone wanted to come to the facility with the goal being to receive a free CNA education, they would be able to fill out an application and interview for a non-clinical position, such as laundry, housekeeping, dietary, unit aide in order to take the classes.

For those more geared to a clinical mindset, Friendship has a unit aide position that is the “first step” in the process. Unit Aides are “hands off” workers. That means they can do things such as: pass ice, push residents in their wheelchairs, make beds, etc. The next step would be a Resident Attendant. The Resident Attendant is able to assist with basic tasks such as: brushing teeth, feeding, grooming, electric razor shaves, etc. Friendship Manor offers Resident Attendant training to Unit Aides at no cost. Unit Aides are welcome to get their training as a Resident Attendant or can apply straight to the CNA program.

The program is now up and running, with the first session of class having been completed and anopther session set to start in January.

Krawiecki’s class is a great way for those considering the possibility of a nursing career to come and get some hands on training, with employment offered as a CNA at the end of the course.

These are the employees who completed the Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) class taught at Friendship Manor. These women are eligible for a seat at the Illinois Nurse Aide Certification Exam in January. Michelle Krawiecki, RN BNATP Instructor offers free classes to Friendship Manor Employees. The next class is scheduled to start in Jan. FROM LEFT, Sarah Wallheimer, Cortni Walton, Michelle Krawiecki, Alexis Helbig, Morgan Simpson and Emily Rensing.