Complete CNA Certification In Alaska For a Challenging Nursing Career

CNAs or certified nurse assistants are frontline health care workers, also known by other names in different states as caregivers, direct patient care workers, nurse aides, hospital attendants, direct care workers, geriatric aides, travel nurse assistants and private duty CNAs. The title or credential of a “certified nurse assistant” or CNA is offered by the respective state’s health organizations after the completion of state and federal OBRA-87 approved CNA training and competency evaluation program (NATCEP) for a CNA Certification.

In the state of Alaska, TheDepartment of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, awards CNA Certification in Alaska to caregivers who successfully complete 140 hours long nurse aide training program (NATP) and pass a state offered competency evaluation test (CEP). The Department has contracted a nationally recognized testing agency, Pearson VUE to design, develop and administer CEP. The award of a certification also lists nurse aides with the Alaska Nurse Aide Registry. The complete procedures from earning of a certification to listing with the Registry also meet the conditions mandated by federal Omnibus Reconciliation Act 1987 (OBRA-87) from each US state, including Alaska.

In Alaska,CNAs are in great demand to meet direct patient health-related issues of the state population and elderly citizens, but the supply of nurse aides are lower comparatively to the actual demands. The basic reasons for the short supply of nurse assistants and other level nursing professionals in the state can be cited to the harsh working conditions prevailing in the state. The long distance and traveling problems, wild terrains, severe cold, ruthless weathers and tough living conditions keep nursing professionals away from the state. Even, locally trained CNAs also migrate to warmer areas for easy livings and earnings.

But, it is also a fact that the greater shortage of caregivers in the state has also resulted in higher competitions, attractive, job stability, salaries and benefits. The Alaska State pays highest salary to a CNA and ranks first among the 10 best paying states for certified nurse assistants. A direct patient care worker can easily earn a salary ranging from $27,000 to $39,000 and more, depending upon the practical work experience, location of the facility, size and type of a health care unit and educational qualifications.

If, you are a CNA and ready to face the challenges posed by the tough living and working conditions of Alaska, you can also complete state NATCEP and earn a CNA Certification in Alaska to perform health-related tasks in a variety of health care settings in the state. The award for your decision to work in the state will be repaid by a lucrative salary, best among the earnings of CNAs throughout the United States of America.

Know about visit CNA Certification Alaska.

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Caregiver Siblings at War (Again!)

After Dad died was when all you kids found out that actually Mom had Alzheimer’s. He’d never let you see how bad she really was. Why knows why? Mistaken sense of loyalty, maybe. In denial, perhaps.

Of course, you all hoped maybe she’d get better after the shock of his death wore off. But, no. Then that lengthy assessment visit to the Alzheimer’s Center and now it’s official.

You all decided that it made most sense for you to move into the house with Mom and be her caregiver. That seemed easy. Your brother the accountant took over her money. Your other brother went to Alaska and hasn’t been back for 18 months. Your sister who lives far away in Minnesota – well, she’s the one who’s always burning up the phoneline.

She phones you. She phones your accountant brother. She phoned your Mom’s doctor a couple of times. Meanwhile, you really do have a 24-hour job at no pay.

Time for a family conference? Yes, indeed. Of course, since you gave up your former life, don’t have a paid job and do have Mom, you’re the one who needs to call the conference. Luckily these days, you don’t even have to listen to them making excuses for not being able to fly to Mom’s home. Nope. You can book one of those on-line conference deals and, bam, you’ll be in conference together.

But here’s what you need to do first. You see, I’m afraid you’ve already shown that you’re too weak-willed to challenge them. You didn’t ask for the money, you didn’t outline the time off you’d need, you didn’t set out the necessary lines of care and power settings in the family.

Now you’re exhausted would be a good time. And, as someone who’s had to mediate family councils and had to negotiate my own salary more than once, let me help you here.

You don’t know right now that your services are worth at least $3,000 in the market, with at least two days off a week in whatever form you want them. Just because you’re your mother’s daughter doesn’t change that. After all, are the others giving up their lives to be here and do this?

No. You’re going to have to grow a spine. Maybe your family always dismissed you a bit before and you’re letting this go on now. You’re the hero here, okay? So get a grip and get going. Here are the things you might want on your list.

Your Want List:
1. You want a salary;
2. You want time off;
3. You want a vacation;
4. You want a float for daily expenses, so work out shopping, travel, treats and other helping Mom expenses at a monthly rate;
5. You want it clear that you are the on-the-spot gal and don’t want long-distance criticism or interference– I’m assuming here that you’re doing a good job, okay?
6. Neither you nor your mother’s doctor want outside interference from someone not on the spot;

In other words, my dear fellow caregiver, you want respect. And you earn it and, to keep that respect, you must continue to be worthy of it.

It is rare for families to take care of these issues without someone speaking up. That would be you.

Frena Gray-Davidson, Alzheimer’s caregiver and author of five caregiving books, including her latest book “Alzheimer’s 911: Hope, Help and Healing for Caregivers”, available at Frena teaches care families and professionals to decode the language of dementia and achieve successful behavior interventions. Go to her website at [] and sign up for her free monthly online newsletter for all involved in dementia care. Email her at

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Sad But True Crime Stories of Elder Abuse and Identity Theft

There are too many tragic stories of elder abuse including neglect, physical, sexual or psychological abuse. Another crime against the elderly is that of “using the money or resources of an older person without their knowledge or consent to benefit yourself or another person.”

Identity theft falls into that category of crimes against the elderly as strangers, or even family members and caregivers take advantage of the elderly in order to gain their long saved money, hard earned credit or well deserved benefits.

In Florida a 100 yr old man was taken advantage of by a caregiver he employed. The caregiver stole her employer’s identity to set up cable television and phone number accounts. The caregiver was charged with elderly exploitation and using someone’s ID without consent.

Seniors May be Vulnerable to Many Forms of Identity Theft & Financial Theft including:

– Investment fraud

– Mortgage fraud

– Check cashing fraud, either forging seniors own checks or those made payable to seniors

– Credit card fraud

– Phony charity solicitation scams

– You’ve won so-called “prize” money awards where they must provide information that is later used for theft

Unfortunately, identity theft, financial scams and frauds against the elderly is that far too often perpetrated by someone seniors know and trust like a caregiver or family member.

What makes the elderly likely targets for identity theft and other financial crimes?

Senior citizens may fall into one or more or all the categories below and these combinations make them attractive targets for financial crimes.

1. Some senior who planned well for retirement have more money, savings, cash reserves and home equity available.

2. Since many seniors already have what they need or have more cash available, they are less likely to be using credit. Those who aren’t actively using their credit often don’t check credit reports regularly.

3. Although there are many exceptions, senior citizens tend to be less “technologically savvy” and may be unaware of many of the scams that are based around Internet usage.

4. Seniors that are dependent on others care and help like retirement home staff, home caregivers and family members may be taken advantage of, as their personal information is readily available to others.

Sadly the case of identity theft of the 100-year-old man in Florida is not an isolated crime.

More True Crime Stories of Elder Abuse and Identity Theft

In Anchorage, Alaska a 57 yr old man plead not guilty to 17 counts of identity theft, fraud and criminal impersonation. He used the information of an 82 yr old man to get 7 credit cards on which he charged $34,000 in merchandise.

One elderly care provider in Hinesville, GA was arrested for financial identity theft and elder abuse. Her 43 victims range in age from 60-100.

In Birmingham, AL a CNA (certified nursing assistant) was charged with elder abuse, neglect and identity theft. She took personal information from a nursing home patient and purchased over $5,000 in goods and services.

It’s not always strangers or caregivers who take advantage of seniors. A resident in a Boulder, CO nursing home was recently taken advantage of by her son and granddaughter who stole over $16,000 from her by abusing her power of attorney to benefit themselves. The granddaughter was arrested for 92 counts of identity theft and forgery.

Jonathan Kraft is a recognized expert in helping people to understand Identity Theft prevention and protection []. Learn more about the secrets used by identity thieves at the Identity Theft Secrets blog [].

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grief – Preparing for Loss By Capturing Memories

My wife of 31 years, Lynne, lost her life to glioblastoma in 2010. The battle lasted almost four years. Glioblastoma is a stage 4 brain tumor, known for its fast-growth and recurring properties. As her primary caregiver, I learned many things about issues families face when caring for someone facing a life-threatening illness. This article covers the topic of grief and some of the techniques that the family used to help prepare them for the loss of a loved one.

In other articles, I discuss ways to prepare for a significant loss. Despite the preparation the family and I made in our situation, there were areas where I feel we could have improved. Our family digital photo albums date back to 2002 with subsequent albums categorized by year. At Lynne’s diagnosis, and through her treatment, the family took about three times the number of photos as in previous years. While photography during an illness may be uncomfortable to some, I am thankful that Lynne was comfortable with the many photos taken of her. One person shared with me that taking photos during the illness, initially seemed strange but later recognized that the family photographs, captured during that time are now the most cherished of all. At the time, I did not foresee the need to collect photographs from others to combine with the family library, but even as I write, I remember some photographs that I can no longer locate. At the time, I underestimated the importance those photographs would have in the future, for helping the family members with remembering important events. I share this as an encouragement to you to collect those pictures and place them in a safe place. You may not realize just how cherished those photos might become.

We captured family videos of the family when the children were young but that decreased over time. I did capture some special moments on video taken while on a cruise with Lynne to Alaska in 2009. I transferred the early videos from tape format to digital format to make sure that my family could enjoy them long into the future. The family benefits in their recovery by remembering the good times captured in those videos.

Lynne did leave our family some wonderful memories through her scrapbooking. These books not only contain cherished photos but also have Lynne’s special touches, as she personally created each page. Several family members and friends have commented that the birthday, anniversary, and ‘thinking of you’ cards she made for them, still serve as a fond memory of Lynne’s caring spirit.

Other areas of preparation included collecting favorite recipes for future use. Lynne was a good cook and an exceptional baker. Her recipe collection was extensive, filling several shelves in our home pantry. We neglected to write down some favorite recipes for the family to share. This is just another area that you might consider focusing on, for storing such information for future use and facilitate the remembering of special times.

You might also collect phone messages and voice recordings. My son has a few phone messages from his mom. One in particular is very special to him. She called Josh to wish him a happy birthday. Unable to take her call at that moment, she left him a voice mail, singing to him. I am unaware of other family members who have such voice recordings but recognize that you might value such a memory in the future. Do consider collecting such items while you have the chance.

For some of these tasks, you might consider asking a family member to help. Your role as a caregiver may be time-consuming, so focusing on tasks like photo or recipe collections might not fit your schedule. When family members or friends volunteer to help, I suggest you consider these types of projects. As a caregiver, you can help other people through their grief by allowing them to participate in some meaningful way. I believe our Creator designed our human nature to serve, so providing opportunities to someone to serve not only helps you but also helps others as well.

I believe preparing for grief can start long before a significant loss. Making the most from our relationships today helps prepare us for the loss of love ones. In other articles, I explain some of the methods that my family used to help with creating and maintaining the memories of the special person that we lost.

Suddenly a Caregiver

Sharing a family’s experience and lessons learned to help you through the unexpected responsibility of becoming a family caregiver.

Available in eBook and Paperback

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Stroke Camp: Rest, Relaxation and Renewal

S’mores. Sleeping bags in pup tents. Fireside stories and songs. Brave souls going “polar bear” swimming in a freezing lake at dawn. These are the memories I have of going to camp. But the camp I recently attended was different. At this camp, I was surrounded by survivors: stroke and spinal cord injury survivors. The July 2005 Stroke Camp at Chapel Rock Church Conference Center in Prescott, AZ allowed stroke survivors and their caregivers, as well as spinal cord injury survivors, a weekend of rest, relaxation…and play time. Kay Wing, owner and founder of Swan Rehab, which specializes in stroke and brain injury rehabilitation, wanted to host a camp that was “No work, just fun.”

“I teach a week long class at NAU every year for the Physical Therapy students,” says Kay. “We have stroke survivor volunteers for the students to treat. The patients are there all day long, and rotate between various therapeutic activities. Everyone has such a good time that it’s like camp. It made me realize how hopeless a permanent disability can seem to both the survivor and the caregiver. Just the week of this class gave people new hope, a change of scenery, and the caregivers a rest from the constant responsibility. I thought this type of hope needed to be available to a wider community of stroke survivors and their caregivers. Only, I wanted it to be just a fun camp.”

Jim Koeneman, President of Kinetic Muscles and co-sponsor of the event, agrees. “Through Kay Wing and our customers, we became aware of the tremendous need that stroke survivors and their caregivers have for recreational opportunities.” Spinal cord injury survivors were included for the first time after a serendipitous encounter with Amy Rocker, Community Relations Director for the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association. The woodsy, rustic atmosphere and hotel-like accommodations offered Camp attendees a multitude of activities to choose from: nature walk, arts and crafts, bingo, yoga, a lecture on fishing, indoor volleyball, and a massage or acupuncture. The group attended a mixer and learned about meteorites from guest speaker John Salza on Friday night; and was allowed to sit in during the Phoenix Boys Choir music rehearsal Saturday morning.

It was here, at this special camp, where I learned what it meant to be a survivor:

1) Change is gonna come. Some of the simplest daily activities we take for granted are the first things a stroke and spinal cord survivor have to re-learn. Not only is the survivor affected, but loved ones are, too. For the first year after his wife, Susan, got home from the hospital, Jack Fuhrer’s daily routine was simply to ‘get through the day’ and observe her daily therapy sessions. “Tending to Susan’s basic needs was hard physical work because she was so profoundly paralyzed,” he states. Chang Bae and his wife, Kim, who were invited to the camp through the American Heart Association, still cope with difficulties like not being able to communicate well and rapidly. And the physical impairment prohibits certain activities that they’re trying hard to get back. Ron and Nancy Wheelen’s 14-year-old daughter is handling the new routine, but is frustrated and tends to be short-tempered at times.

2) It really does pay to have insurance. Insurance companies have gotten a bad rap for years. So much so that a couple of movies have been made to drive the point home that they have a habit of leaving their members twisting in the wind. Like a coin, there’s going to be two sides with insurance companies: the bad and the good. Jack Fuhrer feels he and Susan are among the fortunate few who have had good, hassle-free insurance coverage for a several million dollar illness. They were assigned a “supportive and helpful” case manager courtesy of Cigna. And an uninsured friends’ tragedy a few years earlier caused him to buy long term care insurance. Consequently, there are still a lot of deductibles. Ron Wheelen, whose wife, Nancy, suffered a stroke in a hospital in June 2004, states that “overall, there was $3,000 to $4,000 not covered by insurance. The hospital visit was $500 out of pocket.” Although he didn’t have to pay it, Ron said that the helicopter ride from one hospital to another was almost $12,000. Taxi, please.

3) Remember when?… Family members birthdays. The day my boyfriend popped the question. The day I got married. These are the special occasions I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. For a stroke and spinal cord injury survivor, the day their life changed forever is something they’re not bound to forget. Kim Bae, February 5, 1999; Susan Fuhrer, Sunday June 23, 2002, 9:15 a.m.; Kenny Baker, August 13, 1999; Terrible Tom O’Brien (who’s not terrible at all, but a shameless flirt), Monday May 27, 1996-Memorial Day; Susan Wheelen, June 2, 2004, 6:30 p.m.

4) There’s no such thing as limitations. Just because someone walks with a limp, wears a brace on their leg, or gets around by wheelchair, doesn’t mean they’re completely helpless. Diana Partain is an occupational therapist whose methods of therapy include driving rehabilitation and expressive art. “You don’t have to give up your hobbies or your life after having a stroke,” she says. “You just have to find another way to do them.” And in the words of Terrible Tom O’Brien: “I have two eyes, two nostrils, two arms and two legs. If one doesn’t work, I still have the other one.” Amen.

5) Support, support…and did I mention, support? The dream of seeing my work published has been a goal of mine ever since I started writing in the seventh grade. I not only had to believe it for myself, but I needed to have someone else believe in me, too. Don Price broke his neck and sustained a spinal cord injury in a diving accident in 1982. He was 18-years-old. “It was a difficult adjustment,” he says. “I had great family and friend support, but the best help in adapting to my disability came through peer mentorship–meeting others who had a similar disability, and learning from them. Once I spent time with other quads, I realized that they were out in the community working, playing, dating, driving, traveling and having fun. So I knew I could, too. They supported me; we supported each other.”

6) Celebrate the victories. Sixteen stroke survivors and two spinal cord injury survivors attended the Stroke Camp this year. The most inspirational person I spoke to was the youngest of the group, and was neither one of those. 24-year-old Laurel Murray survived an encounter with a drunk driver. She was pronounced dead at the scene for ten minutes. The doctor’s told her she would never walk again. “What do they know,” she scoffs. The brain damage she suffered is comparable to that of a stroke, her speech is slow and meticulous, her gait is even slower, and she’s determined to do things without help. But she’s walking. So stick THAT in your stethoscope and smoke it, you overpriced, pessimistic doctor!

The best part of this camp was the boys. All of our meals were blessed by the angelic voices of the Phoenix Boys Choir. I still get chills thinking about those young boys, some as young as eight, opening their mouths and hearing this almost supernatural sound emerge. I think about 12-year-old Collin, a member of the choir, who was born with no arms (stumps) and no legs (stumps fitted with suction-cup type prosthetics). And yet he was still wholly accepted by his peers. Those boys will grow up and never look twice at someone with a physical disability because of Collin. Get’em while they’re young, that’s what I say.

I’ve been in the medical field for several years now, but only in the form of a desk job. As a medical biller, I sit at a computer all day and register members. I have no contact with the member and have never had much contact with the physically disabled. After spending a day and a half with these eighteen survivors, I am simultaneously humbled and inspired. My life, my daily complaints, seem so small compared to what they’ve suffered and what they still struggle to accomplish. For a moment in time, I was allowed a sneak peek into their world. We rested, we relaxed, we had fun. We have been renewed. I recently attended a camp. At this camp, I was surrounded by survivors.


~ On average, every 45 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke.

~ Stroke is our nation’s No. 3 killer and a leading cause of severe, long-term disability.

~ African-Americans, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and Mexican Americans have a higher than average risk of getting a stroke.

~ Recent studies indicate that the risk of stroke may be higher in women during pregnancy and the six weeks following childbirth.

~ Each year, about 700,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke. About 500,000 are first attacks and 200,000 are recurrent attacks.

~ Each year, about 40,000 more women than men have a stroke.

~ African-Americans have almost twice the risk of first-ever stroke compared to Caucasians. The age-adjusted stroke incidence rates (per 100,000) for first-ever strokes are 167 for Caucasian males, 138 for Caucasian females, 323 for African-American males, and 260 for African-American females.

To see pictures from the July 2005 Stroke Camp, go to

Copyright 2005 Celise Downs

Celise is a Young Adult fiction author and owner of Gemini Mojo Press. She currently has two books out and is working on a teen series. Check out her “Young Adult Fiction with a Twist” at

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