News & PR

Hammond-Henry Hospital Hosts Certified Nurse Assistant Course

February 19, 2021
L-R are Patty Maynard, Amelia Maynard, Terri Millam, Judy Kuhn, Amy Blaser, Mayra Bretado. Missing from the photo are Ariel Macquarrie, and Hazel Butter

During the pandemic the need for Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) became acute at area healthcare institutions, including Hammond-Henry Hospital.  Due to COVID-19, normal “go-to” programs were placed on hold by local academic institutions. It was a tough time.  And in tough times, ideas can sometimes blossom.  Hazel Butter, Director of Human Resources at Hammond-Henry Hospital saw the issue growing as pandemic months continued.  “Departments were really beginning to suffer and I thought something must be done,” Butter states about the issue.  Over the past 20-plus years, the hospital had partnered with Black Hawk College and hosted a dual-enrollment course specific to high school students over a nine-month period.  Students had classes and clinicals at the hospital which most recently were taught by Beth Keim, RN.  Keim has worked at the hospital since 2006 and taught the class for 10 years. Keim retired from instructing last July. Even though the familiar program was on hold the need for CNAs was ever more important. 

The plan was to expand current employees’ healthcare prowess.  A class was offered to current hospital employees to gain a CNA certification and another type of partnership with Black Hawk College began.  The hospital financially supported the program by offering scholarships to ease financial burden on students.  Many of the students benefited from this investment with the requirement of a one-year work commitment beginning in 2021. Students received instruction through online courses, labs at both the college and hospital, and clinicals that were completed on the hospital acute care floor.  The class was an intense, but quick, 7 weeks.  According to Butter, “this class of students was the only CNA class held in the Quad Cities area this semester by any school.”  These employees may now work extra shifts as CNAs while continuing their current positions at the hospital as well. The option to move into a full-time CNA role is available as jobs are posted.  This was an encouraging program and a true example of a “win-win” situation.