Young CNA brings heart to her job while advancing her career

Sade Chester had her mind set on nursing at a young age. As a child, she experienced a lengthy hospital stay and received loving care from nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). It was then she decided she wanted to be a nurse.

As a 16-year-old high school student, Sade began working as a CNA at Good Samaritan Society – Windom and was quickly recognized for her kindness and commitment to residents.

Now, as a CNA and trained medication aide (TMA), she gives residents their medications and helps them with bathing, walking and eating.

“The most rewarding part about working in long-term care is you really get to know your residents because you’re with them day in and day out, and they really become like a true family to you,” says Sade.

Forming close relationships

Residents at Windom appreciate Sade’s friendliness and thorough care.

“She’s just, a delight. She’s one that I established a relationship with early on,” says Karen Brinkman, a resident for the past seven years. “She’s very precise in her work.”

Resident Margaret Oeltjenbruns is Sade’s great-aunt. They didn’t know each other very well until Margaret and her husband Walter moved into the center.

“Everyone can feel comfortable when she takes care of them,” says Margaret.

Sade says her job is fulfilling because she has close relationships with Karen, Margaret and the other residents.

“A lot of residents don’t necessarily have big families, or they don’t see them often, so we truly are who they have. We are who they see day in and day out, and that is just such a rewarding thing to me,” states Sade.

These close bonds make it challenging when residents’ journeys come to an end.

“You get close and connected with them as well as their families, so when they start declining or they pass away, that’s really hard,” she says.

Playing a vital role

When Sade started at Windom, Maren Johnson, the director of nursing, noticed how well she connected with residents.

“Sade is a wonderful example for all of us. She comes here with a positive attitude, and she portrays a very happy outlook,” says Maren. “She can find something good in every day and something good to say to everyone.”

Sade and the rest of the CNAs at Windom play a vital role in the life of the center.

“They are one of the most important pieces of the puzzle in caring for residents,” says Nancy Wepplo, campus administrator at Good Samaritan Society – Windom. “Those interactions with CNAs are just so critical to a resident’s day.”

Those who want to become a CNA in Minnesota are required to take a CNA course. The Society pays for staff members to do so. In Windom, classes are held on campus and online. Staff members then take the test and do clinicals at the location before receiving their certification.

“They helped me pay for all of those classes and signed me up, and they pretty much take care of it all,” says Sade. “You just show up to the class.”

Pursuing a degree

As Maren and other leaders at the campus witnessed Sade’s natural ability to care for others, they encouraged her to take her education even further.

“Sade’s always been a very bright and impressive young woman,” Nancy says. “I see traits that I had at that age in her, which is fun – that desire to help and try new things.”

Scholarships from the Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health helped make it possible for Sade to pursue a degree.

“I’m currently enrolled at Rasmussen University in Mankato, Minnesota, working on my LPN degree and I should be finishing pretty soon,” Sade states. “Sanford and Good Samaritan have helped me further my education. It’s really been a tremendous blessing.”

Balancing it all

Sade has flexibility at her job while she goes to school and cares for her baby daughter. She commutes to school several days a week and works at the center on weekends and some weekdays.

She appreciates the helpfulness of her leaders and co-workers.

“Everyone has been wonderful at working around my school schedule and still allowing me to get hours and experience,” Sade says. “I think one of the most special things about working here is everything is so put together.”

Maren is proud of the day-to-day care Sade and the rest of the staff provide.

“We try to carry out the Christian mission each day and have that focus with our residents, their families and our employees,” says Maren.

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