Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant


Ashlyn Mann-Murray poses for a photo in her CNA attire. Photo contributed

Eliya Moody and Gurleen Gosal

As senior Ashlyn Mann-Murray strolled to the nursing facility, all she could think about was the impact she would have on her residents that day. The three-story building looked comforting as always, and the workers in the lobby were kind as ever. Mann-Murray continued down the branching hallways until finally arriving at her destination- it was finally time for another day at work as a student nurse.

On Aug. 4, classes started earlier for senior Ashlyn Mann-Murray. She was heading off to help care for the elderly who require aid in daily tasks. She strives to improve the lives of the residents and specializing herself in different units of care. The building is surrounded by separate buildings that accommodate the residents of Otterbein Franklin SeniorLife Community. She began with familiarizing herself with dementia patients. The hallways branched from where down into various care units where she would soon be learning nursing. As a Central Nine student, Mann-Murray was working as a student nurse.

Mann-Murray recently became a Certified Nursing Assistant through Central Nine Career Center (C9), and began her internship at Greenwood Healthcare Center. She had always known that she didn’t want to work a desk job, and nursing just felt like the best option for her because of her passion for the medical field. Therefore, Mann-Murray decided to try out C9’s nursing program and fell in love with the type of work she was doing there.

“I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field, and I knew that becoming a part of a C9 program would help me decide what part of the medical field and how to start that career,” Mann-Murray said. “If CG students have any interest in the medical field, they should definitely try becoming a CNA through C9. It helped many students in the class decide that they wanted to continue in the medical field, while others decided they didn’t without having to waste a bunch of money.”

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) provide direct care to residents, usually under the supervision of a nurse. It is an entry-level job but provides a stepping stone into other careers in the medical field. The tasks of a CNA include helping patients with a variety of basic needs.

“I help residents eat, ensure their cleanliness, ensure that they’re comfortable and provide social interaction,” Mann-Murray said. “I am taking care of living people every day. I can’t just choose to not do my job, because if I don’t, someone’s loved one is going without care.”

Working directly with residents has given Mann-Murray many unique experiences that she will take with her for the rest of her lifetime.

“One of my favorite memories from my C9 clinicals was dancing with one of my residents. During my clinicals, I grew great bonds with my residents, one of them was a retired nurse. Even though she had dementia, she is one of the funniest people I have met in the nursing home. She is so sweet and caring and loves to sing and dance. One day, she and I danced together, and I loved seeing her smile,” Mann-Murray said.

However, these experiences didn’t come without a price. Becoming a CNA is a lengthy process which includes instructional hours, clinical practice and finally a certification exam which tests students on 72 different procedures for resident care. This exam ensures that the students are aware of the skills necessary to work in this field of medical care. Mann-Murray explained that the hardest part of becoming a CNA was the memorization, but there were also many things she learned that didn’t have to do with book work.

“The biggest thing that I have learned by becoming a CNA is compassion and maturity. As a CNA, I see people who are medically fragile and cannot provide care for themselves. This has caused me to become so much more understanding and caring for other people,” Mann-Murray said.

Despite the challenges, Mann-Murray believed it was well worth it to become a CNA because of the rewards that go along with the career.

“The most rewarding part of my job is all the residents. Seeing them smile or laugh because of my care makes my job worth it, even if the work can be hard,” Mann-Murray said.

Based on the opportunities and memories that being at CNA has provided, Mann-Murray knows that she wants to continue on into the medical field. In the future, she hopes to have her masters in nursing and be working as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant.

“It’s eye-opening to see how aging has an effect on people and super cool to learn about how the brain works through the aging process. I believe it’s something I really want to do in the future, and it is super helpful for me before going into the workforce,” Mann-Murray said.