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Jess MacKellar’s Journey – From Security Officer to CNA

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Bishop Gadsden encourages its employees to dream big in their professional goals. VP of Health Services Jonna Cook started as an LPN and chased her dreams all the way up to her current role. Jess MacKellar, a CNA in Myers Hall, took advantage of BG’s unique scholarship program to make her dreams a reality.

MacKellar started at Bishop Gadsden, not as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but as a security officer. But she found herself wanting more interaction with residents. “I really liked working with the residents and the close relationship you can development with them,” she said. “That’s what made me want to pursue my CNA certifcate.

Nursing had always been a career that interested her. “But I kept thinking it’s never really going to be an opportunity because it’s expensive,” MacKellar said.

After she heard about the Shelia Christie CNA scholarship, she realized that BG could help her achieve her dreams.

“I found out that BG pays for you to go be a CNA, and I was like, why not go for my dreams?”

Recipients of the Christie CNA scholarship like MacKellar get more than a scholarship. Bishop Gadsden offers flexibility in work hours for those enrolled in  the program, and even offer their current hourly wages for time spent in classes. “Bruce Lowin, my supervisor, was really, really flexible with my schedule,” she said. “He worked around my school schedule to make it not so overwhelming.”

Now, MacKellar says she has made a seamless transition to her new role as a CNA in Myers Hall, Bishop Gadsden’s assisted living community. “The best part is now I have more of a close relationship with the residents,” MacKellar said. “I’m able to know the health care residents better and have a closer relationship with them and their families.”

MacKellar says she encourages anyone with a passion for BG residents to consider the Christie CNA scholarship program. “The most important thing that I learned is it’s never too late,” she said. “I mean, I’m 36 years old and I kept thinking I’m too old to go for this. But I saw an opportunity and I took it.”

What’s next for Jess MacKellar? Soon, she’ll start working on her RN degree. Just like the CNA program, Jess says she’ll be assisted by BG’s Strongheart Scholarship as well as flexibly from her supervisors. “After that, I want to get like my Bachelor’s in Nursing, and perhaps eventually work towards supervising nurses.”

Jess MacKellar has taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to every team member at Bishop Gadsden. No matter what your dream is, BG can offer the time and resources to help you accomplish your goals.

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