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Nurse Assistant Training Program Launches in Atlanta

The American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training (NAT) program is new to the Metro Atlanta area with its first class underway and a new class forming October 8th. A 4-week certification program that is approved and licensed by the state of Georgia, NAT trains students to provide care in home health, retirement homes and other settings. It is one of a wide range of health and safety certification programs offered by the American Red Cross in this community.

Randall Graham and Tammy Schooley are among the six enthusiastic students participating in the first NAT class in Metro Atlanta. Schooley of Conyers, Georgia, has cared for her father and other elderly people for the past 10 years and has finally decided to make it a career. Her inspiration to become a nursing assistant started during her father’s illness when she perceived a lack of compassion from nurses at a local Atlanta hospital. Schooley said she chose the new American Red Cross NAT program in Atlanta because “I want to be trained right.” After a year and a half of waiting for the program to launch in this community, she enrolled in the first class now underway at a Red Cross facility in Decatur, Georgia.

Following his recent lay-off as a metal work buyer, Randall Graham of Lawrenceville, Georgia decided to take his mom’s advice, follow his heart and begin a new career. After research and recommendations, he enrolled in the new Red Cross NAT program as his first step into the medical profession. Graham’s long-term goal is to further his college education and become an occupational therapist at a local medical center. He wants to be a positive influence for patients who have lost hope in rehabilitation and offer a support system through their painful time. “I want to be able to think about others’ thoughts and how to respond to their ailments,” he said.

Midway through the 30-day NAT certification program, students have the opportunity to practice their skills with patients in a private-care setting such as A.G. Rhode Health & Rehab Center in Atlanta. The students are taught 24 skills, which include: Foot care, teeth brushing, blood pressure, moving the patient in and out of bed, and more.

Leisa Cross, Red Cross Service Delivery Manager for Georgia Preparedness, Health and Safety Services, oversees the NAT program in Georgia and is enthusiastic about adding metro Atlanta to the list of communities already hosting the program in our state. “I have seen a lot of lives changed with this program,” said Cross, who is looking forward to growing and expanding the Red Cross program further.

The NAT program has a pass rate above 90 percent. It requires a background check and TB test prior to the course and offers CPR/First Aid certification. Upon completion of the course students must send their certificate to the Georgia Foundation to take the final test. No high school diploma is required and the American Red Cross is running a special of $799 to enroll in the next session. For more information or to enroll, call 229-924-2031 or email