• Sep 29, 2023
  • 3:06 AM

A Day In The Life Of Certified Nursing Assistants

By Chuck N. Baker  

(Boulder City) — Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work diligently taking care of many individuals. In Nevada, their training and dedication provides a resource that is of great benefit to residents in the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home. The residents — who are also veterans — rest easy knowing that CNAs and the rest of the professional staff are all there for them. 

One CNA is Viveca Dangtavan, who began employment at the veterans’ home in 2004. Although her regular schedule calls for an 8-hour day, she is sometimes asked to work a double shift, and she is ready and able to do so. It reflects her commitment to those she serves. She works the night shift, from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Each day is a bit different, but it begins with a traditional huddle with the Charge Nurse. “She gives us a report,” Dangtavan said. “Then we go to the floor and meet the nurse from the morning shift and we get a report from room to room.”  

Once the room reports are completed, Dangtavan personally checks each resident. Once it gets late, she makes sure they are in their beds, and all is well. “If they need help going to the bathroom, or if they want to shower, I’m there to help them.” During the daytime some just need help to get from their bed to their chairs, where they want to sit for a while.  

The latest fashions from Paris and Beverly Hills have no place at the veterans’ home. CNAs wear scrubs in a multitude of colors, with rounded V-necks, two-pockets, three-pockets, four-pockets, short sleeves, and long sleeves, petit, plus, and tall. Whatever fits and whatever works in their positions as they help residents. Because COVID-19 is still a threat, CNAs wear face shields to assist keeping them and the residents virus free. “When residents are in the common areas, we make sure they wear masks too,” Dangtavan said. “But they don’t wear masks in their rooms.” Often family members of the residents come to visit, and they communicate with the CNAs, who assure them their loved ones are receiving proper care. 

Another facet in the daily life of a CNA is assuring that residents eat well. At mealtime, the kitchen crew brings a food cart to serve those who can’t visit the cafeteria. Some residents have special diets, and others can’t eat by themselves. “We help them. We cut their food, we make sure they get their proper nourishment,” she said. If residents prefer to eat at the cafeteria, she helps them navigate the hallways.  

The veterans’ home offers FREE training to become a CNA through its PFC David “Nick” Crombie Certified Nursing Assistant Training Academy. The program is located within the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home. The Crombie Academy offers an introduction to basic nursing skills, nursing assistant duties and responsibilities. The four-week intensive program offers 120 hours of training, including 40 hours of classroom instruction, 40 hours of labs, and 40 hours of clinical instruction. In addition to being offered at NO COST to participants, both uniforms and textbooks are also provided, free of charge.  

Once the coursework is completed, students are expected to schedule and take the CNA certification exam. Those who pass will be provided a front-line opportunity to apply for CNA positions within the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home. The Crombie Academy is named in honor of 19-year-old U.S. Army Private First Class David “Nick” Crombie of Winnemucca, Nevada. Crombie was killed in 2006 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Iraq. He was serving as a combat medic. 

Dangtavan loves her job helping others, and if finances and family obligations permit, she said in the future she might consider going back to school and advance to a higher nursing position. But right now, she is staying put, making sure her residents are living well and receiving great personal care. Not a veteran herself, she has a distant cousin that she communicates with on occasion who is a Navy veteran. He is proud that she is working to help other veterans, she said. And when asked about the education needed to be a CNA, she pointed out that the home is offering free training for eligible individuals. “If there is an interest, I absolutely encourage them to apply.” 

Congratulations to the Crombie Class of June 2022! Applications are now being accepted for the next Crombie CNA training class. CLICK HERE for eligibility and to apply.