Tina Trotta just finished teaching her first nurse assistant training (NAT) course in Florida, but it was only after a long journey that she found her niche. Starting off in an all-girl rock band in high school, Trotta spent 20 years in sales before she noticed newspapers were “screaming” for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). She registered for a Red Cross course because “everybody said the Red Cross has the best program.”
She made it through the CNA program in 2000, but knew right away she wanted to continue with her nursing training. She remembers being impressed by the hospice nurses who took care of her parents and the Red Cross nurses who taught her CNA course. Trotta remembers saying, “Someday when I’m a nurse I hope I can find my way to do something like this,” and declares, “It’s a blessing from God here I sit today.”
After graduating in 2007 as a nurse, Trotta taught a CNA course at a private school in Massachusetts before moving to Florida last year. She was in her new home for only about two months when she noticed a Red Cross job alert in her email. She jumped on the opportunity, and was happy to begin working in the position that had inspired her as a CNA many years ago.
She loves being a Red Cross instructor, noting there’s a vast different between the Red Cross and teaching at a private school. The Red Cross has a road map and tools that “really make it a wonderful not only teaching experience for the instructor, but the students can navigate their way in systematic, orderly fashion.”
She credits her many years in other fields to being successful where she is today. “You know when you finally find your niche. It took me longer, but this is it. All those other jobs I had taught me how to relate, develop people skills, talk in front of groups of people, manage people and run a business. All those people skills are really very helpful in having confidence.”
Trotta also makes sure to tell her story to her students. She explains if the nursing piece is within their scope and their desire, she wants to encourage any student that comes through her classes to keep going.
“I’m a very lucky gal,” Trotta says. “I’m just very lucky to be here and to be doing what I love to do. Not everyone can say that. I’ve been fortunate.”