American Senior Communities, the largest senior healthcare and housing provider in Indiana, has built a solid reputation of staying at the forefront of their industry. The company’s leadership has long been aware of the simple fact that to provide the best care, you need the best caregivers. American Senior Communities is doing something that is basically unheard of not only in their own industry, but in most others as well.

In response to the shortage of nurses in our state, ASC’s leadership had the idea to expand their support of caregiver staff in an unprecedented way. Through the awareness that furthering the education of caregivers ultimately leads to healthier and happier residents, ASC decided to make it as easy as possible for staff to continue their formal education while maintaining their current jobs.

The inception of the O2NE (Opportunity to Nursing Excellence) Program has given ASC employees, the majority of who are CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) the opportunity to become LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses). The program helps caregiver staff achieve new levels of education and abilities, ultimately improving the entire healthcare system.

Each of ASC’s communities nominates staff members who are given assessment testing. Upon review, candidates are given the opportunity to return to school, fully paid for by ASC. Candidates are also given a 30-hour work schedule while being paid for their regular 40-hour schedule, allowing additional time for classes and study without being penalized financially. ASC also provides assistance for childcare, alleviating another common stress point for adults returning to school.

Several of the Fort Wayne American Senior Communities locations selected candidates for the program. Coventry Meadows selected Sesamile Moore; Heritage Park selected Coreatha Lewis, Shannon Roe, and Rochelle Jackson; Bethlehem Woods selected Megan McKee, Kenyanna Gentry, and Jennifer Haviland. All received their LPN Diploma. A luncheon honoring graduates was held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Indianapolis on April 21st. Each graduate was presented a certificate and a special stethoscope to commemorate their achievement.

Dan Benson, COO of American Senior Communities said, “Relieving the financial burden is only one part of the equation. There are so many other reasons that working people who want to return to school find it difficult if not impossible. It’s a vicious cycle that we are helping to break. You can’t be part of this program and not be moved by how it’s affecting people. We’re actually changing the lives of people who can then go and help so many other lives. The pride in achievement shows in the faces of our graduates.”

Many companies voice support of continuing education, but few have gone as far as American Senior Communities. The most striking part of the O2NE program is that ASC asks for no employment commitment after the schooling is complete. Graduates are free to use the education anywhere they choose to go. Dan Benson states, “This effort is meant to breathe life into our industry as a whole and to benefit everyone it touches, not just our company. We’re helping to fulfill the need for more licensed nurses in the field, and that can only be good for everyone.”

What started as a company’s vision is continuing on as the newest group of LPN candidates navigates the O2NE Program. These three successful graduates have shown the way with hard work, dedication, and the support of American Senior Communities.

The Waynedale News Staff
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