By Michelle Ramirez
While most high school students spend there time after school dribbling a basketball at practice or head home to watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns on Netflix, one sophomore girl spends her evenings taking care of the elderly.
Sophomore Kara Bower is a Certified Nursing Assistant working at Pratt Rehab and Resident Center. She started working there as a Patient Care Tech before she got certified.
“Her relationships with the residents are wonderful,” Kara’s co-worker Heather Inslee said. “She always has them laughing and smiling no matter what kind of day they had.”
The residents are very special to Kara.
“I enjoy helping others that can’t help themselves,” Kara said.
She got a scholarship from Pratt Rehab and Resident Center for her certification classes. She first started working at PRRC in May of 2016, but didn’t begin classes for the certification at PCC until August. By the end of September she was ready for the final.
“I was nervous to take the state final, but I ended up passing it,” Kara said.
During the summertime she worked four to five days a week. Her hours were different in the summer. Sometimes she would work from six in the morning to six at night, or two in the afternoon to 10 at night. During school she works whenever she is available from four in the afternoon to 10 at night. Kara’s schedule changes a lot so there are not certain days she works.
“I like to work night shift because it’s a lot more calm than day shift,” Kara said.
She usually helps the residents who can’t do things on their own. The residents with Parkinson disease need the most help. Kara helps bathe them, feed them, and helps them move around.
She carries a pager with her because that is how the employees know when they are needed. On night shift when she works there is only two or three employees depending on how many residents are there.
“It is great working with a high schooler because you can teach them good work ethics at a young age that will stick with them throughout life and to be responsible,” Inslee said.
When Kara first started working at PRRC she got paid $8.75 an hour. Now that she is certified, she gets paid $10.15 an hour. Her hard work paid off.
“Kara’s best qualities is that she is honest and a very good, hard worker,” Inslee said. “She makes people feel welcome.”
Kara’s job as a CNA is just the beginning of her path to becoming a Registered Nurse after high school.