Don Loftis, board chairman for the local affiliate, said many of these non-disaster-related services offer a strong community benefit. One such program is the nurse assistant training class.
“In four weeks time a person can come and go through our CNA program (and become a certified nurse’s assistant),” Loftis said.
Julia Wright, executive director of the Hiwassee Chapter, described the class as, “A real basic entry level into the medical field; (it is) a great way to find out do you want to be in the medical profession or do you not.”
Holly Robinson is taking the class to return to the medical field. Robinson had been a nurse’s aide 28 years ago before it was required to be certified. When certification became required, she chose to quit working to stay home with her kids.
Robinson heard about the program through a pamphlet her daughter brought home after taking a CPR class at the Red Cross. She read about it and decided it was something she wanted to do. Robinson said she knew it was a good program because it was offered through the Red Cross.
Wright said it was also a great way to start in the medical field and to have employment while pursuing further study and training.
One student, Brittany Knox, is doing just that.
Knox began increasing her knowledge of the medical field through vocational classes at Bradley Central High School.
“I feel like I can use my life to better someone else’s,” Knox said.
Knox said she will be trying to get a job at SkyRidge Medical Center or a nursing home to pay her way through the nursing program at Cleveland State Community College.
Classmate Frank Senu also plans to continue his medical training. Senu said he wants to work at a nursing home or hospital and continue training to become a licensed practical nurse. Senu chose the medical field because he likes the opportunity it gives him to help people who really need it.
Becky Dye, the instructor for the course, was a nurse for 30 years before becoming an instructor with the Red Cross. She said anyone interested in the medical profession must be a caring, loving person.
Wright said although the Red Cross does not place people, they do make students aware of employment opportunities. She also stressed there are many jobs in the medical field.
The cost for the class is $750. This includes books, supplies, the state exam fee and the cost for the CPR and first aid certifications. The fee also helps to pay the instructor and support the program. Wright said she is looking into community sponsors to help offset some of the cost.
The students take their state certification exam at the Red Cross.
Requirements for the class include a TB skin test, an MMR booster and a transcript from a high school or college.
The current class will graduate with a ceremony Aug. 27 with the next class starting Aug. 30, if there are enough students.
For more information about the class or to sign up, contact the Hiwassee Red Cross at 472-1595.
The Hiwassee Chapter is authorized as a post-secondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.