Goodwill Works: Meet Patricia and Dorothy

Hancock Home Health is a county owned nonprofit agency that provides home care services to Hancock, Hawkins, Grainger and Claiborne Counties, specializing in serving the rural communities that may otherwise be overlooked. They contract about 50 individuals to provide in-home care for elderly and low-mobility patients; these caregivers include Personal Care Assistants (PCAs), Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) and Registered Nurses (RNs.)

Recently, Hancock Home Health has been working to expand their Private Duty program, where a contracted CNA provides home health care. Since this program demands that a CNA provide care, Administrator Kay Johnson is looking to fill the roles.

Dorothy Collins served as a privately funded PCA for a family in Grainger County. When they were approved for Private Duty, Dorothy was no longer qualified to provide care; she needed to become a CNA if she wanted to stay on that contract, which would require further education. She approached the staff at Hancock Home Health about providing a scholarship for her studies and, with the blessing of Hancock County Mayor Thomas Harrison, the support was granted to both Dorothy and former CNA Patricia Dalton, who, after working as a CNA for approximately 20 years, let her certification expire as she took care of her elderly father.

“I wanted to go back because that’s where my heart’s at,” Patricia shared. “I love taking care of the elderly.”

After studying her options for CNA training sites, Kay selected Goodwill to provide the services.

Goodwill Industries-Knoxville, Inc. serves 15 counties in East Tennessee, providing CNA classes in both Knoxville and Morristown. This 6-week intensive course provides classroom lessons, skills lab experience and hands-on clinical rotations.

Though Patricia has served as a CNA and Dorothy has provided home care, the Goodwill CNA program was challenging for both. “Before, when I went [to school to become a CNA], I went for 6 months instead of 6 weeks,” said Patricia.

“It was stressful because it was fast paced,” said Dorothy, who balanced CNA classes with family at home and a mother in the hospital. “But the instructor makes the difference. She really makes time for everybody.”

With ongoing support from the CNA instructor and Goodwill staff, as well as the formation of a student study group, both Dorothy and Patricia passed their state CNA exam. Though the course is challenging, Goodwill’s CNA program has some of the highest pass rates for the final certification exam, with 95% passing the written test (22 points higher than the stage average) and 93% passing the skills test (20 points higher than the state average.)

“When I heard about the passage rate for the state test, that was the cinch for me,” said Kay as she reflected on choosing Goodwill as a training site. “You just don’t hear of that high of percentage rates anywhere. I was very, very impressed with that.”

Now that both ladies have graduated from the program and have received their state certifications, they both have positions working for Hancock Home Health as CNAs, both entering a higher paygrade, and their influence has spread. Hancock Home Health is now sponsoring two more students in the CNA class, and there are more who are anxious to get involved.

If you want to get involved with Goodwill’s Certified Nurse Assistant class, learn more here. Scholarships and funding options may be available. The next classes begin May 31st, both in Knoxville and Morristown. Classes include placement support - 96.6% of Goodwill CNA students find jobs in their field upon graduation.