Red Cross offers nurse’s assistant training
The American Red Cross is now offering a nurse assistant training program at their offices on W. Lucas St. After graduating their second class of students last week, the Red Cross hosted an open house on Aug. 11 to showcase this new program. Wendy Dembowski, administrative coordinator for this new program which started in June, said this is the first city in South Carolina to offer it.
Nurse Assistant Training, however, has been offered by the American Red Cross for more than 25 years. The program, limited to 16 per class, includes four weeks of study. Three 40-week classes are conducted at the training center and the fourth week students obtain hands-on clinical training at a local healthcare facility. Two small classes have graduated since the training began here.
The students’ next step is to pass the state exam, then they can seek work. To help them in their search, the Red Cross holds a job fair after graduation, inviting potential employers to come meet the graduates. Dembowski said she is thrilled to have this program in Florence and is hoping to expand it throughout the state. She also wants to add more training programs. “We want to get people to work. We want them to be successful,” she said.
However, those seeking work are not the only people taking the training. There have been a few people who are caregivers and wanted to learn the proper procedures to care for their loved ones. Cassandra Leeks completed the training on Aug. 10. She had been a nursing assistant in the past but needed to become recertified. “I enjoyed this program. It was excellent as far as teaching skills and I feel ready and prepared to get recertified and go to work.” Cassandra is continuing her education with the goal of becoming a medical assistant.
She wants to eventually work at a hospital like her mom and grandmother did. Dembowski said full tuition for NAT is $1,250, but Walmart is providing a $450 grant to each student. Also, SNAP’s Back to Work program has grants available to qualified students. For more information about the American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training Program, call 843-662-8121, visit the Pee Dee Red Cross Training Center at 1601 W. Lucas St. or go to the website: www.redcross.org