Nursing Assistant Program Changes Lives

JENNINGS, LA. – “They may FORGET your name, but they will NEVER FORGET how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou’s famous quote adequately describes the roles that our dedicated healthcare providers fill in the lives of Louisiana’s Veterans.

The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) proudly operates five state-of-the-art Veterans homes across the state. Each facility offers a variety of services including: long- and short-term care, rehabilitative therapies, Alzheimer’s and intermediate care, skilled nursing, mental health services, centralized pharmacy services, and more. Homes are located conveniently across the state in Jackson, Bossier City, Monroe, Reserve, and Jennings.

LDVA’s Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home (SWLVH) recently graduated a new class of Nursing Assistant’s in the non-certified Unit Aid (NUA) that will be providing much needed care to their beloved residents. Those interested in this unique program would apply through Louisiana’s State Civil Service (SCS) website.

The CNA program entails 80 rigorous hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of hands on clinical instruction. The average for this course at a private college or training institution is approximately $2,000.00.

These team members are then trained to assist in all activities of daily living, but they can only perform direct patient care with another certified nursing employee mentor.

Once they have applied and are approved by the SCS for the NUA position, the applications are reviewed, and the interview processes occur.

The SWLVH only recruits those who are dedicated to helping others, and want to learn new information and skills that will enable them to provide the quality of care practiced and adhered to at the Jennings, La., home.

By agreeing to work with one of the LDVA homes, the individual facilities pay them for every hour they attend class, and cover all of the expenses associated with both training and testing.

The SWLVH has three qualified Registered Nurse Instructors that teach this NUA course. These trained instructors provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training as well as an orientation prior to the onset of classes.

LDVA NUA’s make money while training instead of paying money for it. For many of these students, this is the only way they can afford to further their education and obtain a better job in the healthcare field.

The information taught is standard as every program teaches the same information. The main difference in this unique training program at LDVA’s Veterans homes is that the student does not pay anything to train. All of the expenses, including the cost of the state competency test, are paid for by the LDVA nursing home facilities.

Our SWLVH takes great pride in selecting and training these future team members who will play vital roles in the lives of our Veterans and the successful operation of our homes.

Students who meet all of the requirements are treated to a graduation ceremony and incur no costs once they submit an application to take the state competency exam to officially become certified.

The SWLVH team teach their students on a more personal level to ensure their success. Realizing that many of their students had never worked as a team, they added components to their class to help start a teamwork attitude.

From day one, the nursing assistant class members learn to work together and they eventually break down into teams of two or three, depending on the size of the class.

According to the instructors, this really helps students learn to lean on their teammates for help. This builds the foundation for them prior to going out onto the floor and providing care to the Veterans. By then, they will fully understand that their nursing is a team effort, not just an individual effort.

The SWLVH instructors and team members want their NUA candidates to succeed, and feel that the most important lesson for them to learn is the one that helps them understand what Veterans have sacrificed and what quality of care they truly deserve.

The graduation success rate of SWLVH students in the CNA program is an impressive 92%. SWLVH has trained seven classes with a total of 33 students who successfully graduated from the program. Of those students. 27 have passed and six are applying to take the state competency exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant’s.

If you are looking to work in the healthcare field and would like to work with Louisiana Veterans on a daily basis, consider applying for one of these incredibly rewarding positions. Available job opening can be found on the Louisiana SCS website under Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), here:




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