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Published on May 17, 2017

chelsea dombrovski with patient

CNAs: Health Care’s Open Hearts

Like most high school graduates, Chelsea Dombrovski found deciding what she wanted to do for the rest of her life a daunting decision. However, she knew whatever path she chose, she wanted to do more than help people; she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.

“It’s a quality I’ve always had — the ability to put myself in others’ shoes and do what I feel is right because of it.”

Fast-forward 13 years and you’ll find Dombrovski enjoying her career as a certified nursing assistant at Avera Morningside Heights Care Center in Marshall, Minn. CNAs take on a variety of tasks, being the attentive and helpful hands that keep health care settings running smoothly.

“We are constantly present and engaged with residents’ care,” Dombrovski explained. “We wake and help dress our residents, bring them to meals and serve them, give medications, and make sure they attend daily and fun activities.”

Dombrovski, who moved up to a managerial role after completing additional education through North Central Kansas Technical College’s online classes, now oversees the day-to-day activities of CNAs.

She admires her coworkers’ ability to adapt to situations, a crucial skill needed in a CNA’s toolkit. On the surface, they remain calm and collected, but underneath, they are anticipating the needs of not only the residents, but visiting family members as well.

Starting a Caring Journey

Dombrovski’s journey to become a CNA began with working as a dietary aide at a local long-term care facility. Rumblings began of implementing a “neighborhood concept” to cross-train employees to fill various roles, as needed. The four main areas the neighborhood concept covered were dietary, housekeeping, laundry and caregiving.

“I was eager to try this new model,” said Dombrovski. “I already worked closely with our residents; I thought this was a good chance to get to know them even better.” Her CNA training didn’t occur in the classroom, but rather on the job, side by side with other health care professionals. She earned certification after experiencing the necessary rotations and completing a designated number of hours.

Demanding Yet Rewarding

Her hard work continues today. “It is a physically and emotionally demanding job, but so rewarding. It brings me joy when I can bring joy to others. The laughter and jokes I’ve experienced — I could write a book! The people you care for really do become a part of your family.”

CNAs are integral to health care, whether in long-term care facilities, memory clinics or inpatient hospital units. This job can even serve as a stepping stone for people interested in health care careers.

“CNAs practice with an open mind and open heart,” said Dombrovski. “Caring for people is such incredible, meaningful work.”

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