|The ‘sound’ of accomplishment|
Deaf woman graduates Certified Nursing Assistant course
On Wednesday afternoon, nine students from Bossier Parish Community College made the transition from college student to official Certified Nurse Assistants. Annie Allen of Bossier City was among those to graduate from the program.
Like her classmates, Annie met all of the qualifications to graduate from the program; she completed all coursework with a grade of “C” or higher and scored at least 70 percent on the final exam. However, there is one trait that sets her apart from her eight other classmates – she’s deaf.
After moving closer to the BPCC campus, Annie decided to give the CNA program a shot. However, she wasn’t real sure if it would work out.
“It was very hard for me, but I decided that I was going to try and I was going to do it until I was successful,” Annie said via translator.
The CNA program teaches students about medical terminology, health care safety, patient care and engages students in practice lab situations and on-site clinicals training.
Marilyn Wright, CNA program coordinator at BPCC, said that Annie was just like any other student enrolled in the course.
“Annie did not receive any special treatment as far as the program is concerned,” Wright said. “She had to meet all of the criteria and requirements and she did it. All we had to do was make sure the interpreter was there for her.”
During class time, Annie used a translator from the Betty & Leonard Phillips Deaf Action Center in Shreveport to translate lectures. Once she got into clinicals, a translator went with her to a location and explained the different hands-on activities she had to do.
Angie Evans, interpreter and Office Manager at the Deaf Action Center, has been with Annie since the beginning of her journey to becoming a CNA. She was also there to translate for her during the graduation ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
Angie said the excitement of seeing Annie finish the program was overwhelming.
“It was really exciting to see her go through the class. CNA classes are challenging anyway with the medical terminology and all,” Angie said. “Everyone at our office is just so excited. We feel like if she made it, we’ve made it.”
Although the work load was heavy at times, Annie said her classmates really pulled through and worked together during clinicals.
“There was so much work to do, but you have to work as a team. They would show me what to do and I got a clear picture of what a CNA was supposed to do,” she said.