Whether you’re a nurse, future nurse, or aspiring nurse’s aide, there are many things to consider before joining the industry in 2023.
From choosing the best school to taking the optimal job post, there are opportunities to excel around every corner. One person helping students into the field for years is Maria Santiago, CEO and Director of Home Health Aide Training Institute.
The industry veteran built her school’s curriculum based on what students need to know and what they should know. She infuses all of her courses with lessons on empathetic caring and how to see each client as an individual.
“The reason why I wanted to have an institute is to share an understanding of how to care. I feel that students come to our school with heart, but I teach them how to care for people. Going into this profession with your heart is important,” Santiago shared.
Caring to Care
She knows that moving patients, assisting with medications, and inserting an IV are all skills that can be taught at any accredited school — but caring with heart can only come from someone that has been doing it for years. Taking blood pressure, and transporting patients can be taught, but heart needs to come from inside.
“Before I add or subtract anything from our curriculum, I try to think about the patients, and if this was the end of their life, how can we make this the best for them?” said the caring institute founder.
Today, she sees her educational institution as serving the students and clients equally. They train their students to care with heart and to have the compassion needed to gracefully get people through the hardest parts of their lives with respect and dignity.
The institute allows aspiring aides and nurses to become legally certified and also places them in wonderful positions around the country where they can immediately put everything that they’ve learned into practice.
Having just celebrated its sixth birthday, Santiago’s institute boasts over 4,000 graduates while the founder has recently received a lifetime achievement award from U.S. President Joe Biden for caring in the community and world.
If you’re thinking of joining the home healthcare field in the next year, Santiago has three points you need to consider.
It’s Not Easy
When Santiago says her industry isn’t easy, she means it both physically and emotionally. However, it is among the world’s most rewarding jobs.
While it’s not easy watching patients suffer, nor is it a breeze to care for them in their difficult moments, it’s all worth it when you see their progress or hear the gratitude in the voices of their family members for the important job you do.
“On a day-to-day basis, when you’re not working in health care, you meet people that are in good form, and most people are happy and smiling. But, when a home healthcare worker goes into a home, they are going in to see an elderly or sick person, and you are getting to know them in a vulnerable place. If I’m in pain, I cannot direct you, you have to help me think of how to help me,” explained Santiago.
You Need to Learn Your Stuff
Healthcare is a tricky field, with complicated laws and legislation that shifts in response to society’s changes and evolutions. This is why students need to ensure that they are learning from a team of professionals with lots of experience.
“Really, you’re not only sharing care, but you need to be sure that you understand the care you’re sharing and the legalities of the care that you’re sharing. This is why you should come to us,” said Santiago.
Know Your Worth
Wages are always a hot topic in the healthcare field. The hours can be long, and the work is extremely grueling. Home healthcare workers are also on the front lines of caring for vulnerable patients. They deserve to be well compensated.
“I train my students to ensure that their patient is properly cared for in all aspects, both physical and emotional,” said Santiago. “To that end, they need to earn a decent living and be informed about the current fair pay for care and advocate for better living wages for the services they render,” she shared.
At the moment, that wage can be up to $22.50 per hour, depending on the region and job description.
Taking Santiago’s three points into consideration, you’ll be sure to choose the right inroads into the wonderful world of home healthcare.
About Maria Santiago
Maria Santiago is the CEO and Director of Home Health Aide Training Institute (HHATI), which trains nurses in board-certified home health aide. She recently won the Presidential Tribute of Excellence Award and her team has taught over 3,000 students to date. For more information about getting involved in home healthcare, please visit www.hhati.com
Erik Jackson has been a senior editor at Health News Tribune for three years. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions and the newest trends in medicine.