Briarcliffe celebrates Certified Nursing Assistant program


Although last Friday afternoon’s rain forced the celebration inside, the smile on Akshay Talwar’s face spoke volumes as to what was going on at the spacious Briarcliffe Training Center in Johnston.

For quite some time, Talwar – who owns and operates Briarcliffe Manor, Gardens and Cottages at 53 Old Pocasset Road that specializes in everything skilled nursing care, rehabilitation and assisted Alzheimer’s living – had been thinking about a program that offered education and employment in the demanding health care industry. So sometime last month, Talwar put his thoughts in motion and launched a state approved Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program.

Last Friday, the program’s first 12 participants were honored with certificates of completion as they now prepare to take the necessary Rhode Island exam in order to become Certified Nursing Aides (CNA).

“We started the CNA education program because we felt that by growing our own team in this way, we could infuse them with a sense of mission and compassion from the start,” Talwar said. “And, this would thereby help us improve on the stellar quality of care that we are currently providing our residents.”

Talwar, who recanted many different and heart-warming stories about the program’s first phase and just how important it was for young people – especially women – who were seeking the sometimes hard-to-find employment at health care facilities has been nothing less than elated with the feedback he’s received from students and their instructors about the offering.

“As for the students,” Talwar said, “they were highly motivated and enjoyed the vast learning experience and we expect them to become valued members of the Briarcliffe family.”

Stephanie Togbsi is an excellent example of what Talwar – and his skilled team of instructors that includes Director of Nursing Services Jonna Matos, RN, Jacqueline Sousa, RN, ADNS and nurse instructor Kristin Sousa, RN – hopes the now popular and successful program will accomplish.

Togbasi’s aunt, Joyce Togbasi, has been employed as a CNA at Briacliffe for 11 years and as Talwar said during Friday’s ceremony, “We’re pleased to welcome the next generation of her family.”

Talwar later explained that the Briarcliffe Training Academy’s first graduates were required to have 100 hours of special programs that included lectures, clinical time, lab practices and lots of study to prepare for the Rhode Island State Examination.

The Class of 2017 participants learned patent care, Alzheimer’s/Dementia Training, safe resident handling, patient positioning, communication skills and most especially patient rights.

The group that someone suggested is “Briarcliffe’s Dynamic Dozen of 2017” includes Jacqueline Havey, Madhavi Mathew, Sara Levesque, Jessica Etfer, Stefanie, Togbasi, Aryana Wazar, Isha’lee Savage, Brittany Erico, Ryna Lieng, Katelyn Bergeron, Robyn Schwartz and Brianna Cost.

Those who’d like further information about the first-ever and unique Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program should call the Briarcliffe Campus at 944-2450.


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