“When graduates complete our training, I want them to understand that what their client is experiencing might one day be going on with any one of them or a family member of theirs,” said Bernice Baxter, the director. “Their clients need to be treated with the dignity, respect, empathy and compassion that they deserve.”
CNAclasses.org recently lauded the TCC’s training as among the best in the state.
Baxter has led nurse aide training at TCC for the last three years when pass rates on the Virginia Nurse Aide Exam have soared to as high as 98 percent. Last year 355 students graduated with the 120-hour certificate , and nearly all have found employment in their field, whether it be in a hospital, nursing home or home health, ranging from pediatrics to geriatric care.
“I got more out of the program than I originally thought I would,” said recent graduate Daraeanne King, currently preparing to take the state exam. “You learn that these are people, and you’re there to take care of them and treat them gently and with respect.”
Baxter also oversees the nurse aide training offered through the Center for Workforce Solutions in Norfolk. It adheres to the same standards and guidelines set by the state.
Within the 120 hours, 40 hours are in an actual clinical setting. The State Board of Nursing requires full knowledge of 22 skills ranging from applying knee-high elastic stockings to transferring a client from a bed to a wheelchair. All faculty are registered nurses with extensive experience in the geriatric population as required by the state. Students undergo their skills training in three state-of-the-art labs inside the Regional Health Professions Center, with strict grading to ensure their proficiency.
Baxter, a TCC alumna with a wealth of experience in pediatrics and geriatrics, allows students to prepare for the exam by practicing in the labs even after they complete their course work. TCC is an accredited regional testing facility for administering the state exam, a bonus for students who can test in the same environment where they learned the material.
Baxter continues to teach classes, and her office, full of cards and mementoes from appreciative students, reflects the value she places on ensuring students receive the best preparation for a demanding but rewarding career. One recent note reads, “Thank you, Mrs. B. You made us better people.”
“I am proud of what my team has accomplished,” she said. “As a nurse, I know how critical your nurse aides can be to you. Having a competent nurse aide is the difference between a team that works together and one that struggles in providing care. A nurse aide is a critical part of a team with one goal in mind: provide the best care for the client.