As soon as she became a Certified Nursing Assistant in early 2015, Amy Kippin “made a beeline” for the Tidewell Hospice booth at a job fair, she said.
Amy had known she wanted to work for hospice since 2013, when she sat for nine hours at the bedside of a friend’s dying father. The calling became even more urgent 14 months later, when Amy’s mother passed away in that same room in the Bradenton Hospice House.
“Something sparked in me, like ‘Wow, I feel really fulfilled.’ I kinda had a curiosity about how people pass, what it’s like,” Amy said.
At the Tidewell booth, though, Amy was disappointed to learn that Tidewell requires CNAs to have a year of practical experience before joining the team.
Fortunately for Amy, there is a direct path to that experience that runs through the Tidewell family. Approved Home Health, Tidewell’s private-duty home-health agency, can provide the training ground for prospective Tidewell CNAs.
The program is informally known as the Approved-Tidewell Career Ladder. There are two other CNAs currently working at Approved Home Health with the aim of joining Tidewell.
“If Tidewell is the goal, and we have a new graduate, we can share with them that you can work this year at Approved. When that year is up, we can look at the opportunity to join Tidewell. It’s about gaining that experience,” said Elham Ketchum, Approved Home Health’s human resources generalist.
Amy started Tidewell orientation April 4 with full recommendation from Approved. She is training at the Bradenton Hospice House and will be a PRN CNA with plans to continue her nursing education.
“We’re really proud of Amy. She has done a great job for Approved, and we wish her the best of luck in her new career with Tidewell,” said Rob Coseo, Approved Home Health’s executive director.
During her stint at Approved Home Health, Amy provided care for every hospice patient who was available while honing her general nurse assisting skills.
“With Amy, it was very clear she had the Tidewell heart,” said Approved Home Health Director of Nursing Lauren Wickland, RN, who formerly served as an RN case manager for Tidewell. “She just needed some more clinical experience. Every other month, we do hospice in-service and end-of-life in-service for our staff. Amy was at all of those. She was so excited.”
When Amy joined Approved Home Health on April 8, 2015, she and Elham marked the date in 2016 when Amy could join Tidewell. In February, Amy asked if she might make an early transition. But then she met a special Approved Home Health patient who changed her mind. The man had late-stage ALS.
“Within five minutes, I made a really good connection with the wife and the patient. I texted and said, ‘Please keep me on this case.’” Amy said.
When the patient passed away, Amy was ready to join Tidewell and become a Career Ladder pioneer.
Pictured, from left, are Rob Coseo, Approved Home Health executive director; Maritza Cardin, Approved billing coordinator; Lauren Wickland, Approved director of nursing; Amy Kippin, Tidewell CNA; Elham Ketchum, Approved human resources generalist; Lisa Leatt, Approved team coordinator; and Candy Davis, Approved staffing coordinator.