Excel Health Careers offers CNA training in LaPlace

Published 1:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2022

LAPLACE — Mother-daughter duo Jennifer Brock and Carissa Berthelot, both registered nurses, have implemented a new nursing assistant training program to help students excel and deliver the highest level of care to the community.

Excel Health Careers LLC opened early this year at 3013 New Highway 51 in LaPlace. Approximately 10 students have come through the program thus far, and another 10 are entering the four-week nursing assistant program this weekend.

Held monthly, nursing assistant classes include two weeks of classroom instruction and two weeks of hands-on experience in a clinical setting to propel individuals into a new career with opportunities for growth.

Daytime classes are held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, while evening classes are held from 3:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday. According to Brock, the most requested option has been weekend classes, held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Upon completion of the four-week course, individuals must sign up to take the Prometric test in order to be certified through the state.

Brock has a master’s degree in nursing. She’s been in the field for 30 years and works with elderly members of the community in long-term care. Her daughter felt the same calling to healthcare and earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  She’s currently pursuing higher education.

“Both of us work side-by-side with nursing assistants. With the pandemic, there’s been such a huge shortage of nurses and nursing assistants. We thought there was a need to help get some new people out there and have them trained. We’re going into our fourth class this weekend, and it has been successful,” Brock said. “We always tell them this is not a job. It’s a calling. It has to be something in your heart.”

Brock and Berthelot have lived in the St. John the Baptist Parish community for the past 22 years. Opening Excel Health Careers LLC has been their dream for more than a decade, and it has become another avenue for them to give back to the community they call home.

“Now that we’ve actually done it, it’s so rewarding helping the students because you feel like you are giving back to the individual, but you are also giving back to the community by providing this training,” Berthelot said. “When we are training people from our parish or the tri-parish region, and then they are working in this region, it’s feeding back into our community.”

Berthelot is also passionate about the nursing assistant program because it represents new beginnings in the healthcare field.

“I started off as a nursing assistant when I was 17. It really changed the direction of my life, and it opened the door for a career for me. Now that I am 32, I’m a registered nurse, and I’m back in school to be an advanced practice RN,” Berthelot said. “I also enjoy the aspect of helping take care of people because it’s rewarding. It helps you feel that you are making a difference in someone else’s life.”

Opportunities for certified nursing assistants are plentiful in hospitals, medical offices and nursing homes. According to Brock, there has also been a surge in opportunity for traveling nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals must be at least 16 years old to participate in the nursing assistant program through Excel Health Careers LLC. All prospective students must undergo a criminal background check as required by the Department of Health. Individuals must also be vaccinated for COVID-19 and undergo a tuberculosis test or a chest x-ray to participate in the clinical instruction.

The cost of the four-week program is $860, which includes books, registration fees and a criminal background check. Half of the tuition must be paid up front, and the remaining half can be paid two weeks into the course.

The tuition does not include the cost of registering for the Prometric test, which runs about $125.

Berthelot said the Excel Health Careers team is working on securing scholarships to ease the financial burden for students.

“The long-term goal is to be able to start a licensed practical nursing program,” Berthelot said.  “The CNA program would be the foundation and the first step into the future programming.”

Brock is also a licensed instructor through the American Heart Association and can offer CPR and first aid training by request.

For more information, call 985-224-2683 or visit excelhealthcareersllc.com.