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Doniphan West students take strides towards medical careers with CNA work

Jordan Veach is dressed in scrubs and ready for work.

Doniphan West students take strides towards medical careers with CNA work

By Marla Taylor


Eight Doniphan West students have taken strides towards their career goals by becoming certified nursing assistants.


Included in this ambitious group are seniors Lacey Banks, Bailey Jeschke, Kaitlyne Chadd; juniors Naomi Libel, Lilly Strohl, Alexis Wilson, Kenzie DePrey; and sophomores Jordan Veach and Faye Cecil.


Nearly all of them took the CNA courses through Highland Community College Technical Center (HCC-TC) and are currently employed in assisted living facilities.


Lacey Banks said she has goals of becoming a registered nurse and became CNA certified to get a step in the medical field. She is currently employed at The Willow in Wathena, Highland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, and Cascade Health Services. Since the school shutdown, she has increased her hours to total two full-time jobs. “I will continue to work crazy hours,” she said.


One thing Banks likes about CNA work is “being able to make the residents feel good about themselves and being able to comfort them.”


Alexis Wilson also became a CNA to start gaining experience. Additionally, she is enrolled in the Medical Office Assistant program at HCC-TC. “I plan on going to Missouri Western State University to become a nurse, and then after that possibly going on to become a physician's assistant,” she said.


Wilson has been working at Two Timbers Alternative Living facility since July of 2019 and plans to stay there until she finishes high school. 


“What I most enjoy about my job,” Wilson said, “is the connections that you make with the residents. You become very close with them when you see them all the time and right now we are the only people that we get to see. Especially working in long-term care you really get to know them and you really care about them.”


Also employed at Two Timbers are Naomi Libel and Jordan Veach. Like many others, they became CNAs to take steps toward their future plans. Libel plans to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, and Veach plans to become a pediatrician.


Libel said being with the residents is her favorite part of the job. “It’s definitely not what I thought it would be. They joke around a lot and I’m glad to be able to help them.”


Being able to help the residents is also what Veach enjoys about CNA work. 


MaKenzie DePrey was inspired by her dad to become a CNA. “He got to take me to work [as a CNA] with him, and I remember how much fun I had back then.” She is employed at Wathena Healthcare and Rehabilitation and works anywhere from 60 to 80 hours per pay period. “I love working with the residents and creating those special relationships, as well as making new friends with coworkers,” DePrey said.


Bailey Jeschke, who has plans to become a dental hygienist, is employed at Highland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center and plans to continue working there until she begins dental hygiene school. Jeschke said she enjoys the people she works with and “bonding with the residents during this awful time in life” while enduring the COVID-19 virus.


Kaitlyne Chadd also works at Highland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. She became a CNA to take steps towards becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Forming relationships with the residents is what Chadd most enjoys about her job.


Lilly Strohl earned her CNA as a step towards a career in the medical field, but she also thinks being a CNA is a good job, and she enjoys being around and helping older people. Strohl is currently employed at Hiawatha Community Hospital, but not as a CNA. “I have to be in a position for six months before I can transfer to the floor.”


Faye Cecil has future plans to become an OB/GYN, so becoming a CNA is a step in that direction. Although she does not currently have a CNA job, she plans to get a job at an assisted living facility in the fall of this year. Cecil said she enjoys working with older people. “I love most all of the stories the people tell and learning about them and their experiences they’ve had.”