Nurse assistant course prepares students to enter workforce

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 23, 2022

Even at the young age of 18, Clara Warren of Middlesboro knew that she would some day work as a nurse in obstetrics.

“It was that or nothing,” Warren said.

Still, Warren also realized that she would need to clear a few hurdles before she could achieve that goal. She began by enrolling in NAA 100, Nursing Skills I, in fall 2021 at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Not only is the course a prerequisite for the nursing program, but it also gave Warren a way to join the workforce immediately. She took the Nurse Aide State Competency test in January and began working as a CNA full time at Claiborne Health and Rehabilitation Center.

The work is hard, and the hours are long, but Warren enjoys her job.

“Sometimes it’s hard,” she said of her 12-hour shifts.

“Honestly for me, I enjoy mealtimes when I get to talk to the patients. Relationship-building with them is very rewarding.”

Nurse Aide Coordinator Jennifer Nolan says Warren has what it takes to succeed in this field.

“Clara is a model student who is passionate about helping others and achieving her goal of becoming an RN,” Nolan said. “Her positive attitude, friendly demeanor and willingness to help others are some of the attributes that will make her an outstanding nurse one day.”

Warren was equally complimentary of Nolan

“I liked the way she taught,” she said. “She made [the material] easy to understand. At first, I struggled with blood pressure, but she kept encouraging me until I learned it.”

Warren will continue to work full time until August, when she will begin the nursing program at Southeast. She says that her job as a CNA has helped her realize that she is on the right path.

“It’s a rewarding job,” she said, “but you have to want to do it. You have to have the heart for it.”

Beginning Aug. 15, Southeast will offer sections of NAA 100 on all five campuses—Cumberland, Harlan, Middlesboro, Pineville, and Whitesburg. For more information, call 855-246-7528, visit or email