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Kindale Dorsett: Program provides pathways for CNAs into long-term care

Interested in being a CNA? Florida program provides pathway into long-term care

Kindale Dorsett Guest columnist
Published 6:01 a.m. ET Aug. 9, 2022
A certified nursing assistant takes a patient’s vital signs.

When I chose to pursue a career in health care, I knew about the popular career paths like working in a hospital or an emergency room. I thought I would be working with infants and children as a pediatrician but after completing my clinicals at a long-term care facility, I found that caring for the elderly is my lifelong passion.

There is so much to enjoy about working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in a long-term care facility. I have learned a lot about medicine, and even more about life.

The amount of responsibility I have been given as a CNA in long-term care is especially important to me as I try to learn all I can to further my career in health care. The experiences I have had with my supervisors and peers have prepared me for the next step in my career.

I was especially drawn to the relational aspect of being a CNA at a long-term care facility. I enjoy hearing stories from all my patients about their life experiences. They feel like my grandparents after only a short time. This makes caring for them more than a job — it becomes a personal passion.

A Gainesville High School student brushes another student’s teeth in the nursing training classroom in 2017. Students in the school’s Academy of Health Professions train to become Certified Nursing Assistants.

I am lucky to experience life with my residents every day. We form a close bond, unlike relationships formed in other health care sectors.

Some of my favorite moments on the job take place during the many events we orchestrate for our residents. The monthly boutique is one of my favorites. I love seeing my residents’ faces light up when they get to purchase something new and experience the joy of shopping again. Our facility also decorates halls for the holidays, which is a fun way to stay festive at work.

I was the first person in my family to pursue a career in the nursing field. I wasn’t sure where to start, but resources available today make it easier than ever to start a career as a CNA. My high school offered a CNA program, which provided direction to help me to complete my CNA certification even before graduating.

CNAs make a significant impact on the quality of care and the quality of life for our residents. But I worry that fewer people are considering this calling for a career and what that will mean for the future of Florida’s aging seniors.

To address the need to attract more CNAs in Florida’s long-term care workforce, the Florida Health Care Education and Development Foundation and the state of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration have partnered on a grant-funded CaregiversFL Career Program designed to connect skilled nursing centers with individuals seeking a career in long-term care.

Kindale Dorsett Submitted Photo

This program makes it easy for existing CNAs to fill open positions. It helps individuals interested in becoming a CNA learn about training programs, different pathways to becoming a CNA and how to receive on-the-job training while earning a paycheck.

I am forever grateful for my school pushing me to complete my clinicals at a long-term care facility. It turned out to be the best decision of my life.

I hope more individuals take advantage of the resources available through the CaregiversFL Career Program to seek a career pathway into the long-term care profession. I think they will find that caring for the elderly is as rewarding as I have found it to be.

Kindale Dorsett is a CNA at Ayers Health and Rehab in Gainesville. She can be reached at

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Reprinted from The Gainsville Sun

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