No Experience Required: How BAYADA’s Training Program Launched My LPN Career

 Chablis Thompson, LPN

For any nursing students or LPNs out there trying to find your way through a health care career, I want to share my story. I know it can be really hard trying to get your foot in the door sometimes. It was for me, until I found the perfect opportunity. Hopefully my journey can inspire some of you good people to always keep the faith and keep reaching for your dreams.

First of all, I know you must be a special person for wanting to work in health care. Not everyone is that compassionate. You also have to be extremely strong to help people who are sick and going through some rough emotional times. I’m here to tell you, though, that knowing at the end of the day that I did a good deed and I made someone’s burden lighter is one of the best feelings in the world. I am so happy and proud to be a nurse.

I knew my calling, but had to find my path

Maybe like you, I always knew I wanted to work in health care and help people. When I was little, our great-grandparents used to live with us, and my Pop and I had a little side deal: he’d give me $2 a week to give him his meds. That was my first health care gig, at five years old!

I was accepted into nursing college right after high school, but I couldn’t afford it at the time. Instead, I took what I thought would be a quicker path: vocational school, to become a medical assistant. I got licensed and certified as an MA, but I never worked as an MA. I couldn’t find a job.

In my early twenties I worked as a home health aide while I went to nursing school and graduated from their LPN program. I even worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in a couple facilities, but that wasn’t much fun, feeling underpaid and unappreciated. Once I got my nursing license, I knew I was ready for more responsibilities and better opportunities to help people. I applied everywhere for an LPN job, but nobody wanted to hire me. They all wanted one year of nursing experience. How are you supposed to get work experience if no one’s going to hire you?

BAYADA was the only one that gave me a chance

Then one day I went to a career fair, and on that one day, everything turned around for me. I met two people from BAYADA who told me about their Nurse Residency Program for new nurse graduates. Before I knew it, I interviewed and got accepted. 

The Nurse Residency Program was an amazing opportunity to learn and practice the real-life nursing skills you need to care for someone at home. We were paid for twelve weeks of classroom and simulation (SIM) lab instruction, followed by a nine-month paid residency. In that time, I learned so much.

The SIM lab was set up just like a client’s home where we were able to use medical equipment and practice high-tech nursing skills on a realistic medical manikin. Our clinical educator would present us with scenarios and give us feedback on how we responded. The hands-on practice gave me confidence, and we had some really deep discussions in the SIM lab that made me feel prepared for anything.

In residency we did a lot of bedside orientations, helping a nurse preceptor hands-on and learning how to work complex cases, like how to provide tracheostomy and ventilator care. It was much more specialty-focused than nursing school. Even the clinicals we did in nursing school didn’t teach us skills and critical thinking like this. They had been more about writing plans and passing meds—which is probably all I’d be able to do if I worked in a facility.

I am very grateful for the Nurse Residency Program. Because of my mentors there and everything they taught me, I easily passed the test to get vent and trach certified, and I felt comfortable with my nursing skills and my 24/7 clinical support—and what to do in an emergency—before I ever worked independently in a client’s home.

Now I’m loving the LPN life

And now, I’m so happy to be doing meaningful, interesting work as a BAYADA LPN.  I feel like I found my work family where we share the same core values—to put our clients first and provide the best care with compassion, excellence, and reliability.

My regular client is a 52-year-old man who has muscular dystrophy. I help him with his self-care and take him shopping, and make sure he gets vent and trach care, suction, respiratory therapy, and three catheter changes every day. I do his skin checks and skin care, track his vital signs and safety precautions, and give him his meds. He’s my buddy, and it makes me feel good to be there for him.

Next year, I want to apply to BAYADA for a Presidential Scholarship to help me go back to school for my RN. After that, I’m hoping to be part of BAYADA’s ASPIRE program that helps clinicians like me advance their career by developing their leadership talents.

I love what I do as a BAYADA LPN, and I don’t want to go anywhere else. I feel like I’m well on my way to a really great career, and I’m excited for what the future holds. You know I’m going to keep reaching for my dreams—and so should you!

 Do you think you have what it takes to be like Chablis and join the world's most trusted team of home health care providers? Click the link below for access to a great career opportunity!

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