News & Events

Nine graduate from local CNA program

Date: 11/26/2018

Taking part in the CNA graduation ceremony at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital recently were, seated from left: graduates Nashali Parks, Lisa Lorenzo, and Shanae Reed.  Standing from left, Greg LaFrancois, hospital president; Odette Lapointe, RN, lead instructor for the program; Kathy Miller, MSAD #42 Adult Education; and graduates Bobbi Jo Bernier, Stephanie Tilley, Kylie Bouchey, Valerie Munn, and Randell Peterson.  Absent from photo: Amanda Parenteau

Presque Isle, Maine (November 26, 2018) — Nine students were celebrated on Monday, November 19, at Northern Light AR Gould Hospital for graduating from the hospital’s second Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program.  This unique program provides free training and even employs students during the seven week training program.


This marked the second time that this unique training opportunity was offered through a partnership with the Presque Isle hospital and MSAD #42 Adult Education in Mars Hill.  The most recent class began in October, offered again in the community based on the success of the unique pilot course which was held early this year.   


Northern Light AR Gould Hospital and Northern Light Continuing Care (the hospital’s long-term and skilled nursing facility in Mars Hill), have both struggled in recent years to get the CNAs needed to provide vital patient care.  This resulted in the concept of “growing our own” which led to the creation of this unique offering.  Students received hands-on training at both locations to better prepare them to work at either site.


Classes were held daily, Monday through Friday, so that the program could be completed in just seven weeks.  Knowing that this accelerated pace would make it challenging for participants to work outside of their training, the hospital hired students and paid them an hourly wage while they were completing their classroom and clinical training. 


A total of nine students were accepted into the program and successfully completed it, more than double the size of the pilot class.  Graduating from the program were:  Kylie Bouchey, Lisa Lorenzo, Valerie Munn, Randell Peterson and Shanae Reed, all of Presque Isle; Bobbi Jo Bernier of Westfield; Amanda Parenteau of Blaine; Nashali Parks of Mars Hill; and Stephanie Tilley of Masardis.


“These nine individuals demonstrate all of the characteristics it takes to shine and thrive in healthcare,” said Odette LaPointe, RN, lead instructor for the class.  During the ceremony, LaPointe shared with graduates the five qualities that she learned to embrace and live by everyday:  compassion, a positive attitude, patience, empathy and love. 


“Although the days are busy and the workload is always growing, there are still those special moments when someone says or does something and you know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. That’s why you became a caregiver,” she told them.


That sentiment was echoed by Kylie Bouchey, one of the graduates and the student speaker at the graduation.  “Showing a positive attitude with a friendly face makes it easier to heal,” she said.  “Someone could be having a bad day, but showing them a friendly smile or simply asking them if you can help with anything or just starting up a conversation can change their day for the better.”


Speaking on behalf of her classmates, Bouchey explained:  “We devoted time and effort to becoming nursing assistants to help others, heal others, and to show others we care. I believe life grants us the strength and courage to work hard at what we want, and when you are dedicated and appreciate the work you do, it makes a difference in the world.  There’s not a doubt in my mind that we will succeed.  We care about our patients, clients and residents. We take our time to help them when they are in need, not because we have to but because we want to. That is what a CNA is all about.”


All nine graduates have been hired by Northern Light Health to work at either AR Gould Hospital or the Continuing Care facility in Mars Hill.