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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Jocelyn Isgriggs is the smiling face and caring hands that future patients need

Lillian Greenlee
PHS senior Jocelyn Isgriggs cares for residents at Potosi Manor.

When googling the definition of a certified nursing assistant, it says that they may also be called a nursing assistant, a nurse’s aid, or a patient care assistant. It says that CNA’s work directly with patients and nurses, helping with the many physical and complex tasks for patient care, and that some of their responsibilities include, turning or moving patients and gathering medical supplies. But Potosi High School Senior Jocelyn Isgriggs says being CNA is more than that.

Jocelyn is a 17 year old senior at Potosi High School. During her junior year of high school, she attended the UniTec Career Center (UniTec) for the CNA program. Throughout the year, at UniTec she learned how to care for residents and gained the medical knowledge needed to pass the CNA certification exam at the end of the year. Jocelyn aced the exam and was immediately employed as a CNA at NHC Healthcare in Desloge. Recently she moved to Potosi Manor, to work closer to home.

Missouri certified nursing assistant programs include 75 hours of theory and 100 hours of clinical (on-the-job) training. According to Quality Care Through Quality Jobs, in the United States, 21% of employed CNA’s are between the ages of 16 and 24. With a large number of that 21% being over the age of`18. Age restrictions depend on your state. Some states require you to be at least 18 years of age. Some other states allow 16 and 17-year-old students to take CNA classes, with parental consent. In the state of Missouri, a student under the age of 18 can train to be a CNA if they are taking a specific high school health education coursework. For example, Jocelyn going through the program at UniTec. However, many employers (especially hospitals) will only hire CNAs who are at least 18 years old. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies are most likely to be willing to hire a minor.

Jocelyn explained how the UniTec tours in eighth and tenth grade interested her to look into becoming a CNA because they all seemed to love helping their residents. Jocelyn explained that a CNA is like a first responder and they provide basic care. They see the patients and residents the most and have the most interactions with them.

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Jocelyn said, “I want to help people and this was the fastest way I could make a change for the patients. Once I started my clinicals, I found out that most of the elderly residents I worked with were not getting the care they needed. This inspired me and pushed me to work harder and give these residents what they deserve. But all in all I just want to help people and be that smile they see every day.”

Jocelyn explained how she doesn’t do her job because of the paycheck she receives, she does it to put a smile on the residents faces. Jocelyn said, “ I enjoy seeing all the elderly men and women and getting to learn about their life and what their passions are. I enjoy the relationships I get to build with the residents and their families. Being a CNA is a very rewarding job, you never go home without feeling like you helped someone. The only part I don’t love about being a CNA is when my coworkers don’t have the same passion for being a CNA and are just doing it for the paycheck. When this happens they don’t  take care of the residents. And they don’t really care about fulfilling the responsibilities they hold as to changing, feeding, and caring for their patients.”

Since obtaining her CNA certificate Jocelyn has poured her heart into her job, while still juggling school and life all around her. 

Jocelyn said, “CNA work is a difficult job on its own. It’s a demanding job and you are constantly on your feet and moving residents. There is no down time and usually no time for breaks. Personally I worked as a CNA after school most of my junior year. I would get out of school at 3:05 and head straight to work. I would work until 8 at night and then drive 30 minutes home. Although it would have been easier to work closer to home, for me it was easier to work at my clinical site. But when I got home I would take a shower and do my homework. It’s challenging, but you can do anything you set your mind to. And I was determined to help people and still make all A’s in school. School was always my highest priority. My grades and education are a huge thing to me. So if it meant I needed to stay up later to study for an exam I would do it.”

Jocelyn is very passionate about being a nurse. Right now, Jocelyn is going through the program at UniTec to become a certified phlebotomist. She wants to continue her nursing career after she graduates high school, and plans to attend Mineral Area College, to obtain her Associate Degree in Nursing (RN). The RN program consists of a five-semester curriculum leading to an Associate of Science degree. Upon successful completion, the student may apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Satisfactory achievement on the examination will qualify graduates for licensure as an RN. At the moment, Jocelyn is working on her college prerequisites for the Mineral Area College (MAC) nursing program. After graduating high school she will still need to take two more prerequisite classes, but in the Spring of 2025, she plans to be finished with her prerequisites and to hopefully be accepted at MAC.

According to the American Nurses Association, nearly 18% of newly licensed registered nurses quit the profession within the first year. Like with more advanced nurses, common causes for leaving include stressful working conditions, lack of leadership and supervision, and understaffed facilities. This is why hospitals are offering higher pay and, according to Missouri Connections, the entry wage for a registered nurse in Missouri is $60,430 and only requires two to three years of college.

According to Missouri Connections, In Missouri, there are currently 73,333 registered nurses employed. The Missouri population is 6.168 million. Even now, there aren’t many registered nurses compared to our population. Jocelyn is of great service, and needed in our community. Nurses are leaving their field in masses, and people like Jocelyn are going to become even more important. 

All of her life, Jocelyn was raised around caring hands. Jocelyn’s mom, grandma, and brother have all worked at the handicap center, taking care of people. Jocelyn has always enjoyed helping them take care of the residents at the handicap center, even from a young age. She would often ride the bus to the handicap center after school, and help take care of the residents as a volunteer. She has a large family and several little cousins. Jocelyn has always been the first to volunteer to babysit, and enjoys taking care of the little kids in her family. If anyone around her falls, scrapes their knee, or gets hurt in any way, she is the first to make sure they’re okay. Then she helps assist in treating their injury. She truly is such a loving person with such caring hands. It shows that she knows being a nurse is more than turning or moving patients and gathering medical supplies. She is the smiling face and caring hands that future patients need and get to see. 

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About the Contributor
Lillian Greenlee
Lillian Greenlee, Reporter
Hey y'all! My name is Lillian Greenlee, and I am a senior at PHS. I am the NHS secretary/treasurer, a Concert Choir leader, Bible Club member, FCA member, a College Ambassador, a Student Ambassador, Foreign Language Club member, and a 4-H member. I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.  

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  • B

    Becky HarmonOct 15, 2023 at 8:49 am

    I am so proud of you I love you

  • R

    Robin VollertsenOct 14, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    Jocelyn you can do anything! I am very proud of you. Lilly great job

  • T

    Tina McDowellOct 14, 2023 at 11:54 am

    I’m so proud of you Jocelyn. Nursing is hard but is very rewarding! Go girl go!!!❤️