Meet the VHS team during the autumn Recruiting Roadshow

Virginia Health Services recruiter Colleen Reynolds began a monthly road tour of our nursing and rehabilitation centers in January. It continues in September and October. It will pause for the holidays in November and December, so take advantage of the opportunities this fall!

The Recruiting Roadshow will give applicants a chance to apply and interview in person at our locations in Newport News, Hampton, York County, Gloucester and Kilmarnock. Job candidates can see our centers and get a feel for where they are applying.

“I want to make myself more visible to team members and applicants in each building,” Colleen says.

The increased presence should better support new hires and identify team needs.


September dates:

  • York Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and The Hamilton Assisted Living, 9 a.m.-noon Monday, Sept. 25
  • Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1-4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25.
  • James River Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26.
  • The Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and The Huntington Assisted Living, 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Sept. 27.
  • Northampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27.
  • Lancashire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 9 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Sept. 28.
  • Walter Reed Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28.

October dates:

  • York Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and The Hamilton Assisted Living, 9 a.m.-noon Monday, Oct. 23.
  • Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1-4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23.
  • James River Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24.
  • The Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and The Huntington Assisted Living, 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Oct. 25.
  • Northampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25.
  • Lancashire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 9 a.m.-noon, Thursday, Oct. 26.
  • Walter Reed Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26.

How to be a successful applicant

Colleen shared ways to stand out among job applicants to Virginia Health Services. She sees hundreds of applications and conducts about 15 phone interviews a day. Make yourself standout.

“I’ll take a chance on people for a phone interview if the application looks like a professional effort was made. If you’re not making the effort in the application, hard to think you’ll put an effort into the work. Put your best foot forward to get to the interview process and sell yourself,” Colleen says.

Application tips

  • Complete all application questions.
  • Spelling and grammar should be correct.
  • Create a professional email address to use when applying. Use your correct contact information so you are reachable.
  • Have a professional resume (regardless of work history).
  • List any transferable skills
  • Be professional (avoid personal details)
  • List work experience
    • For those with limited or no work history, such as high school students, please list any part-time work experience or have an objective statement with a career goal listed. Be sure to include school and graduation date.

How to successfully interview by phone

  • Research Virginia Health Services (information is easily accessible at Colleen says, “Tell me why you want to work for VHS and what you know. Take the time to visit the website. I always ask, ‘why do you want to work for Virginia Health Services?’”
  • Ask questions about the job and company.
  • Read the job description so you can best speak to how your qualities and skills make you the right fit for the job to which you are applying. Talk up your skills – hard (like clinicals) or soft (such as organization and time management).
  • Be on time. Answer the phone. Give advance notice if possible to cancel. “Life happens, but keep it at a professional level at all times,” Colleen says.
  • Know your resume. Clarify when you were licensed. Colleen says, “Know your own work history and those important dates.”
  • Send a thank you message to follow up to everyone you spoke to.

How to successfully interview in person

  • Be professional.
  • Be on time.
  • Dress business casual for an in-person or virtual interview.
  • Be prepared. Know your work history.
  • Present yourself in a professional way.
  • Be prepared with questions. Ask about the position or VHS. “You have to make sure it’s a good fit for you the same as we need to make sure it’s a good fit for the company. … You have to make sure you know where you’re going,” Colleen says. (This applies to phone interviews as well.)
  • Send a thank you message to follow up.

“Everyone serves a purpose on the team,” Colleen says. “Tell me how you think you’ll fit in the organization and what you bring to the team.”

Join our team

Explore career paths with Virginia Health Services and apply online at

Virginia Health Services CEO & President publishes op-ed in Daily Press/Virginian-Pilot on staffing mandate

Virginia Health Services President & CEO Mark Klyczek published a guest editorial in online versions of the Daily Press and The Virginian-Pilot the evening of Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023. The op-ed shared the ways in which the new federal staffing guidelines for nursing homes conflicts with providing quality care.


“As a nursing home operator in the local community for more than 60 years, Virginia Health Services is proud of the care we have delivered to thousands of individuals. While we fully support the staffing requirements adopted by the Virginia legislature, a federal staffing mandate would significantly reduce the quality of care in nursing homes. The Virginia model sets a consistent staffing standard and funds the staff needed to achieve the goal we all have, which is to provide improved staffing and quality care. The federal mandate is expected to be unachievable, and funding has not been discussed.

“… Should a more stringent mandate without funding be implemented by the federal government, nursing homes will be forced to accept fewer patients, and some may be forced to close.”

The full op-ed from The Virginian-Pilot:

The full op-ed from the Daily Press:

Senior Living Week Resident Spotlights

In honor of National Assisted Living Week (Sept. 10-16), we are spotlighting residents at our Huntington and Hamilton Assisted Living communities. We also are spotlighting residents at The Arbors Independent Living in Port Warwick as part of an all-encompassing Senior Living Week celebration.

Care of our residents is the heart of what we do. Our team works to support these individuals to live their best life. We are thankful they chose to call Virginia Health Services senior living communities home.

The Arbors

‘A lot of fun’

Porter and Marshall Booker have called The Arbors Independent Living home since March.

“Our children got together and chose places for us to look at, and this one of them,” Marshall said. “This had the advantage of no entrance fee. We liked what we saw and this apartment was available. We liked everything about it.”

Portrait of Marshall and Porter Booker
Marshall and Porter Booker started calling The Arbors home in March. They celebrated their 60th anniversary in June.

Marshall is a social person, Porter said, and had given up driving, so moving into a community like The Arbors was the right fit for their lifestyle.

“And I was looking for someone to cook some of my food,” she said. “I was tired of fixing all the meals. … This has worked out fine.”

Portrait of Marshall, Joyce and Sally, who all went to school together growing up.
These three have known one another since youth. Now they are neighbors.

Marshall attended school with two other residents.

“I’m sure our yearbook has been around,” he said with a grin.

The Bookers have been married for 60 years. They met one summer while working at the Commissioner of Revenue’s office in Newport News.

“We worked together one summer and it all worked out,” Marshall said.

“It really led to something,” Porter said with a laugh.

They lived in Poquoson for a long while after moving back to the Peninsula. Marshall taught economics – and briefly was a dean of academics – at Christopher Newport University. He previously taught at Salem College and Old Dominion.

They have four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Their daughters live nearby and their son is in the Baltimore area.

The Arbors life

“We made a point to try to know everyone’s first name,” Porter said. “We find most people outgoing …”

“And willing to help,” Marshall added. “I like sitting outside; chatting with people as they come and go.”

He utilizes VHS Rehabilitation outpatient services, which is just downstairs from their home.

“It’s great. He can just walk down to it,” Porter said.

“I like the people,” Marshall said of the rehab team. “They worked with me so I could get up the stairs to my grandson’s rehearsal dinner.”

The Bookers enjoy the dining room choices – “there’s always something to chose from,” Marshall said. “And the desserts are tasty too.”

They also enjoy the activities, like happy hour, bingo, exercise classes, Saturday game nights and “we go down to most of the functions that the (Life Enrichment Director) does,” Porter said.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” Marshall said.

Porter added, “We enjoy the laughter.”

Friends here

Sally moved into The Arbors over the spring. She is recently widowed and said she knew she couldn’t keep up her “big home on the river.”

Portrait of Sally

She wanted to stay close to where she lived.

“I’m still grieving, but I like The Arbors,” she said. “And I have some friends here.”

Sally also has family members who live nearby. One son lives in York County, another in Virginia Beach, and her daughter is 2 miles away in Newport News. Several of her nine grandchildren also live in Newport News.

One of her sons stops by for lunch on Wednesdays. He continues to work at the environmental testing lab his parents launched in Newport News.

Sally’s husband was a chemist. They met in college – she at Longwood, he at Hampden-Sydney. He originally was from Newport News, and once they were married, they moved back, opening the lab in the 1980s on then-Middle Ground Boulevard (now City Center). Sally was the accountant and bookkeeper for the lab.

They would have celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary Sept. 1. Her grandson brought her a dozen red roses on the day because “that’s what Papaw would have given you if he was here.”

Life at The Arbors

Sally says she enjoys activities, such as happy hour and musical entertainers, and Chef Akira’s menu at The Arbors. She likes enjoying her big meal of the day in the dining room, citing a recent special of fried chicken with white gravy as a highlight.

She loves to paint. She also uses rubber stamps to create greeting cards. A room in her apartment is dedicated to her art. She has a gallery wall of previous and recent paintings.

Friends at The Arbors include two childhood classmates. She graduated high school with fellow resident Joyce, and her grandson is married to Joyce’s granddaughter.

“She’s been very helpful to me since I’ve been here,” Sally said of Joyce.

She also likes to read and watch TV. She is a fan of “Virgin River” on Netflix.

The Hamilton

Early Resident

Lassie Crawford says she was the 11th resident to move into The Hamilton Assisted Living in York County.

Lassie Crawford is an early resident of The Hamilton.

“It was a brand-new apartment, clean. I wanted a window with a nice view,” she says. “This suited me just fine.”

She put down her deposit after first seeing it.

Lassie says she was familiar with the location – her husband was at York Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for about two years until he passed.

“I was happy with how they took care of him,” she says. “So when it came time for me to find a place, I checked this out.”

It’s also near her son and his family in Gloucester. She had lived on her own for about nine years before moving into the assisted living community.

“They take good care of us,” she says. “I miss my home. That’s something you never get completely away from. They do make you feel very much at home, that this is your home now. I’ve liked it from the beginning.”

Her son retired from working at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. Lassie has three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who all live relatively close by, save for a granddaughter in Tampa, Florida.

She says she wanted a place that would be convenient for her family to visit. She says they’re very attentive.

Lassie originally is from North Carolina. Her husband was in the Army. They lived together in Panama on assignment before selecting to come to Fort Eustis in Newport News.

“We lived in Newport News for a number of years,” she says. “He was on a lot of assignments I couldn’t join him on.”

They were married 63 years before he passed.

“We had a good marriage. We were happy,” she says. “A lot of times, I would have liked to have him home more. You manage to do what you have to do. It taught me a lot – there were a lot of things I had to do on my own. … After he passed, I stayed in my home along for about 9 years by myself. I did OK.”

Her husband retired after 33 years in the service, then did volunteer work at Fort Eustis. The Crawfords volunteered for Meals on Wheels.

“He enjoyed people. I drove. I could depend on him to be a few minutes – he’d help with other chores they needed help with,” she says.

She enjoyed needlework and sewing, which she translates to quilting classes each month at The Hamilton with Gala.

“She’s good, she’s really good,” Lassie says. “One thing with the activities we have here – some I really enjoy, but we can pick and choose. They keep us pretty busy.”

She enjoys going to the teas.

“Those can be so much fun. Kirstie has a real knack for decorating things and it’s fun just to go see what the theme is.”

Lassie also enjoys the therapy dog visits, Mr. Hamilton (the resident rabbit), art with Emily, musical entertainment and the library drop-off and pick-up in the lobby.

“I feel fortunate I’ve had pretty good health overall,” she says.

The team at The Hamilton made sure she was using her walker to avoid falls.

“They’re really good about helping us take care of ourselves. They want us to do what’s safe. When you need to change, you don’t always take it seriously. I know I didn’t … didn’t take much for me to lose my balance and fall. I needed more help with things.

“I’ve been happy here.”

York County is home

Patricia Foretich has called The Hamilton home for about two years.

She was receiving rehabilitation at York Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for a fractured tailbone before transitioning to assisted living.

Portrait of Patricia Foretich
Pat started at the York and now calls The Hamilton home.

“You just have to wait it out,” she said of waiting out the fracture. “My back has been bothering me for years. I have osteoporosis. But you know, I’m kicking. Not very high. That’s what my mom says.”

She moved to York County when she was 18. She turned 85 this year and has two children who graduated Tabb High School. Her son recently retired from NASA.

Her pride and joy are her five grandsons – she can’t keep the smile off her face when sharing their accomplishments.

“I’m proud of them,” she said. “They worked hard to get where they are.”

She says her family is happy they don’t have to worry about her anymore. Her sister is also a resident, living in an apartment upstairs.

“The Hamilton is great,” she said. “We all look forward to the food. The nursing is wonderful.”

A family friend helps her once a week to run errands, get her nails done and they go out to lunch.

“The activities are great. You can choose. It’s always something,” she said. “The therapy dogs are wonderful, everyone looks forward to them when they come.”

She’s also an avid reader and appreciates the library drop-off and pickup.

“If you want help, all you have to do is ask, and they will gladly help you,” she says.

She spent her career, mostly as a secretary, she said, and tried to stay home as often as possible as her children were growing up. It took slight prying to learn she worked through the Aerospace Education Project for NASA, working at the NASA Langley Visitors Center in Hampton.

“That was great … it was a great place to work,” she said.

She riffled through a box of old photos, pulling out a signed picture from Sally Ride. She traveled to several NASA campuses, including Houston; Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Oklahoma.

“I flew quite a bit,” she said. “I have some good memories … years go by fast.”

The Huntington


Muriel Baker has called The Huntington Assisted Living in Newport News home for about two years.

Portrait of Muriel Baker
Muriel turned 100 earlier this year.

She’s a Detroit, Michigan, native and has lived in states coast to coast. Her granddaughter and her family live on the Peninsula, which is how she found herself at The Huntington. Her grandson lives with his family internationally; they teach in American schools overseas. She has four great-grandchildren.

Muriel was a nurse, doctors’ offices, hospitals and in public health. “Once a nurse, always a nurse,” she says. Her mother wanted to be a nurse, but there were fewer training opportunities at that time.

“I enjoyed it all,” she says. “You meet all kinds of people; have to deal with all kinds of people. … I learned to deal with the public.”

Her life has spanned memorable events, including the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Her husband was a pastor, who she met at her family’s church in Michigan. When they were married, he was called to California, where they did Skywatch, reporting on the directions of airplanes coming and going. It was a civilian group, Ground Observer Corps, that was created in WWII and re-established during the Cold War. They also moved Florida. “He was an older man; he was a great man,” she says. “It’s been an interesting life.”

Muriel turned 100 this year. She was surrounded by her friends at The Huntington.

“The people at The Huntington are nice. The food is good. They take good care of us here,” she says. “They keep us busy here; they try to keep us out of mischief.”

She likes Bingo, games like UNO, crafts and, “everybody likes Hoppy (the rabbit).”

“At my age, I’m supposed to be wise. They say wisdom comes with age, but I’m not sure about that,” she says with a smile.

“It’s been an interesting life.”

Find your community

Learn more about our senior living options with Virginia Health Services at We offer independent and assisted living communities to help meet your needs. Schedule a tour today!

Eight apprentices graduate in September cohort

Virginia Health Services celebrated the graduation of eight apprentices during a ceremony held on Styron Square at Port Warwick in Newport News on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.

The students graduated from Care Assistants to Nurse Aides. The earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship program, a six-week course that includes classwork and hands-on clinical skills, also covers the cost of the state certification exam to be a CNA.

The class is led by instructor Nora Gillespie, RN, and Director of Education Princess Henderson, RN, BSN.

The graduates will be employed within VHS. There were ties for valedictorian and salutatorian.

The class: Kenneth Akes, Jr. (co-salutatorian), Alaina Bottcher, Caryn Drake, Shanice Fleming, Tara Johnson (co-valedictorian), Amanda Lawson (co-salutatorian), Tyron Paul and Logan Scott (co-valedictorian).

Co-valedictorians Tara and Logan gave remarks during Friday’s ceremony. The graduates celebrated with family and friends during a reception at the education center.

Join the team

Applications will be accepted for our October earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship class on Sept. 11. Classes fill early, so be sure to submit your application once they open. Our students graduate with jobs within VHS and the program offers several benefits, including financial assistance. Visit for more information and to apply.

Virginia Health Services and DaVita Kidney Care Launch On-site Dialysis Program in Hampton

Life-sustaining kidney care available to Coliseum residents is first of its kind on the Peninsula

HAMPTON, Va. (August 23, 2023) – Peninsula-based Virginia Health Services (VHS) and DaVita Kidney Care celebrated their partnership with a ribbon-cutting at the DaVita Dialysis Den located in VHS’s Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 355 Marcella Dr. in Hampton.

The DaVita Dialysis Den is an on-site dialysis center, exclusively available to Coliseum’s long-term care and rehabilitation residents. Coliseum provides 24-hour nursing services; occupational, physical and speech therapies; and on-site hemodialysis — reducing the discomfort, inconvenience and cost of frequent transportation for treatment.

DaVita’s highly trained and dedicated care team members deliver on-site dialysis care to residents of Coliseum, creating a more comfortable and convenient experience for many patients and their providers.

“Often, dialysis is a barrier for individuals who need short-term rehabilitation. This will eliminate that barrier, which is a big win for the individuals and the hospitals that have difficulty finding an appropriate bed,” said Virginia Health Services President and CEO Mark Klyczek. “It was important to find an experienced partner because dialysis is such a specialized service.”

This program is projected to reduce the total cost of care to payors like Medicare, as well as reduce hospital readmission events. VHS patients who are part of the DaVita SNF Dialysis network will require minimized discharge planning, as hospitals will have the ability to send patients in need of dialysis directly to the Coliseum for care.

“We bring 20 years of experience as a leading kidney care provider,” said Dan Viaches, president of DaVita SNF Dialysis. “We appreciate that VHS trusts us to deliver high-quality care to the patients they serve.”

Locally owned and managed, Virginia Health Services has served residents’ needs since 1963. It owns and operates seven nursing and rehabilitation centers on the Peninsula, Gloucester and the Northern Neck. Their Walter Reed community offers Memory Care units for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The DaVita Dialysis Den is just one more reason to consider Virginia Health Services.

To find out more about Virginia Health Services (VHS) and DaVita Kidney Care Dialysis Den or VHS’s Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, please visit, connect with us on Facebook or call (757) 596-6268.

Lobby at Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
The lobby at Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center recently underwent a facelift as well.


About VHS

Locally owned and headquartered in Newport News, Virginia since 1963, Virginia Health Services offers exceptional senior living and health care services. We specialize in the continuum of care from active lifestyle independent and assisted senior living communities, to skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. Our 1,000+ Team Members are passionate and committed to the well-being and quality care of our residents. Beyond our thoughtfully maintained communities located throughout the Virginia Peninsula, we offer a full range of personalized skilled health care, outpatient therapy, home care and hospice services by specially trained staff in the comfort and privacy of your home. To learn more, please visit our website at

About DaVita Inc.

DaVita (NYSE: DVA) is a health care provider focused on transforming care delivery to improve quality of life for patients globally. The company is one of the largest providers of kidney care services in the U.S. and has been a leader in clinical quality and innovation for more than 20 years. DaVita cares for patients at every stage and setting along their kidney health journey—from slowing the progression of kidney disease to helping to support transplantation, from acute hospital care to dialysis at home. As of June 30, 2023, DaVita served approximately 201,000 patients at 2,703 outpatient dialysis centers in the United States. The company also operated 353 outpatient dialysis centers in 11 other countries worldwide. DaVita has reduced hospitalizations, improved mortality, and worked collaboratively to propel the kidney care industry to adopt an equitable and high-quality standard of care for all patients, everywhere. To learn more, visit

VHS Home Health Care rolls out mobile health units to patients

VHS Home Health Care has rolled out use of mobile health units to its clients – under their doctors’ orders.

The mobile kit provides patients enrolled with VHS Home Health Care an automatic way to take readings and for nurses on the team to monitor patient progress in real time.

Tia Hunter, LPN, handles initial setup and monitoring for those using the unit.

“I set up the actual machines and show them how to use it. A nurse goes out first to start the care. Every patient has different orders from their doctor, depending on their diagnosis,” she says.

Tia Hunter has been a LPN with VHS Home Health Care for more than two years. She handles initial setup and monitoring of the mobile kits.
Tia Hunter has been a LPN with VHS Home Health Care for more than two years. She handles initial setup and monitoring of the mobile kits.

Equipment in the kit can record weight, blood sugar, oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature and heart rate. It includes a tablet to which each piece of equipment is Bluetooth-enabled and records and transmits the results. The home health team is alerted to the new updates to monitor the patient.

“If something is really off, I can go to their home. I can send text messages, video calls and reminders, all through the system. And they can do the same,” Tia says.

There also are educational videos available to the patients to help them better understand their care, like what are carbohydrates diabetics should or should not eat.

The VHS Home Health team began implementation of the kit in June. The monitored results also are sent to the doctor for assessment.

“The purpose is to try to keep them home and avoid hospitalizations,” Tia says.

It’s cost-saving and a game-changer for many of the team’s patients.

Learn more

VHS Home Health Care helps individuals get back to living their best life by providing skilled care in the safety and comfort of an individual’s home. The team coordinates care with a patient’s doctor.

The team of professionals include nurses, therapists and social workers who will train and educate and individual and their loved ones to help the individual gain independence.

Research shows receiving care at home with home health services can effectively prevent hospitalizations and costly stays. It is typically covered by Medicare and most commercial insurances.

Learn more about VHS Home Health Care at

Location and security mattered most in selecting The Arbors as home

Fae Mungo and her husband Jeff have called The Arbors Independent Living home since 2019.

They chose The Arbors for the location and transportation options, like valet.

“It’s close to things we enjoy,” Fae says. “The weekly housekeeping is great. I believe the food here is absolutely wonderful.”

She enjoys the events that include music and crafting. She says she appreciates the outings even if she doesn’t always attend them.

Arbors resident Fae shows off her patriotic nails
Arbors resident Fae shows off her patriotic nails

Family life

She and Jeff have been married for more than 60 years. She’s “Bull Isle born and bred.” The Poquoson native has lived on the Peninsula her entire life.

She and Jeff met at Buckroe at the then-drive-in. He served in the Air Force for 36 years and she worked for the Air Force as a civilian, starting part-time during summers.

Their oldest son is in Ecuador and the youngest son is in southwest Virginia. Jeff’s family is in North Carolina.  They have a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters in Fayetteville, N.C., who come to visit.

“They come up here – the kids love to play in the park. We love to have them here,” she says.

One of their deciding factors to choose The Arbors was because their family is so spread out.

“We felt as though there wouldn’t be anyone here to help us,” she said. They gain that security at The Arbors.

Civilian career

While working for Langley Air Force Base, Fae said she was the first woman to do certain jobs.

She was a manager in the aircraft maintenance program and loves logistics.

“I was a resource adviser,” she says. “I handled the money for all the logistics. No other woman had done that.”

In logistics, her hands were in several areas like contracting, planning and budgeting for aircraft maintenance transportation.

“We were their support on the ground. It was very analytical work; I loved finding the solutions,” she says. “It was so much fun to watch them grow – I loved the rapport we built with the troops.”

She says it was rare at that time – in the 1970s – for women to do work outside of clerical or teaching.

“I pushed my way up,” she says.

She had encouraging bosses and the encouragement and support of her husband.

“I’ve had a lot of help along the way,” she says.

She visited nearly every state’s Air Force base, Panama, Europe and other countries while working. She made a lot of friends, who are scattered across the country.

“I’m very proud of my career,” she says. “It was a very good career for me. I was always happy to help women along the way and tried to be fair to everyone.”

She retired in 1996 – “I just felt like my time had come,” she says. She started to have some health issues. Jeff retired in 1995.

She loved doing aquatics and played golf. She and Jeff traveled in retirement.

Call The Arbors home

A move to The Arbors Independent Living might be what you need when the demands of home ownership become overwhelming. Visit to schedule a tour of our community and see for yourself why our residents love to call The Arbors home.

Six apprentices graduate to Nurse Aides

Six apprentices graduated from Care Assistants to Nurse Aides in a ceremony Thursday, June 22, 2023, at Virginia Health Services’ Employment, Enrichment and Education (EEE) Center.

The earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship program is a six-week course that includes classroom education and clinical skills labs. The program also covers the cost of the state certification exam to be a CNA.

The graduates are Aaliyah Glee, Khaylor Griffin, Stephanie Holland, Naye Tiyanna Holloman-Lee, Marina Thomas and Emma Ward-Senghor.

The students will be team members at York, The Newport, Coliseum and James River Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers. The instructors said each student already is scheduled for the certification exam.

Valedictorian Aaliyah Glee showered appreciation on her classmates during the graduation ceremony.
Valedictorian Aaliyah Glee showered appreciation on her classmates during the graduation ceremony.

The ceremony

Director of Education Princess Henderson, BSN, RN and instructor Nora Gillespie, RN, led the graduation ceremony and provided kind words and anecdotes about the graduates.

Nora opened the ceremony telling the gathered graduates, family and friends that “we are dedicated to the success of our students. We want them to be able to navigate healthcare. We hope you all took something from each of us.

“It’s physically and emotionally hard to work in long-term care. You were all exceptional.”

Princess said it was a wonderful class.

“The sky is the limit. Being a nurse is so rewarding. You all have the qualities a great nurse will have,” she said. “When I would talk to Nora before they came to me, she just said, ‘they’re good. They have it.’”

Princess called valedictorian Aaliyah the “life of the party. She strived to be the best. She’s going to be a great leader.”

Nora said Aaliyah’s smile could light up a room and she enveloped everyone in the class with her warm spirit.

Khaylor had “heart, professionalism and maturity” to do the job without having previous experience in patient care. Stephanie, who earned the clinical superlative award, worked really hard to get where she is, Princess said, and Nora added her compassion shows on her face.

Residents loved Naye, both instructors said. Emma, who joined the class later in life and has experience as a CNA, embraced the teaching style and took her classmates under her wing.

Salutatorian Marina Thomas is loved by her residents on the Jefferson unit at James River.

“She’s a quiet, gentle person who brings joy to the residents,” Princess said.

Join our team

Applications will be accepted for our September earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship class on July 24. Classes fill early, so be sure to submit your application once they open. Our students graduate with jobs within VHS and the program offers several benefits. Visit for more information and to apply.

VHS celebrates CNA Week

The week of June 15-21 is designated by the National Association of Healthcare Assistants as CNA Week. This year’s theme is “We’re Unstoppable.” We know the team of Nursing Assistants and Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) at Virginia Health Services is unstoppable.

We have a range of CNAs, from veterans to those who will graduate from our apprenticeship program to Nurse Aides on June 22. Our CNAs are the eyes and ears of the clinical team at our communities, spending time with the residents and patients. They provide personal care to assist residents in getting ready for the day and aide in all forms of activities of daily life. CNAs build personal relationships with the individuals in their care.

To celebrate this year, we are featuring four CNAs who have come up through VHS’s apprenticeship program in the past two years.

Our team members fell in love with the job because of the residents. And it all started with the team of instructors for our apprenticeship program, Director of Education Princess Henderson, RN, BSN and instructor Nora Gillespie, RN.

The six-week earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship program graduates Care Assistants to Nurse Aides and covers the cost of the state certification exam to be a CNA. Apprentices are then employed at our seven nursing and rehabilitation centers.

Three of our featured apprentices graduated from the program about a year ago. Another was in our third graduating class and spent over a year as a CNA before transitioning to activity director of The Huntington Assisted Living. She still works CNA shifts.

Here are their stories.

Devyn Hotop, The Huntington/The Newport

Devyn Hotop considered nursing after graduating from high school, but wanted to attain nurse aide certification to test the waters. She says the apprenticeship – she graduated in the July 2021 class – gave her the foundation she needed and she “really, really liked it.”

She passed her exam on the first try and worked for more than a year as a CNA at The Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Devyn said she always saw the residents having a good time during recreational therapy and when the activity director job opened at The Huntington Assisted Living, she knew she wanted to do it.

“I love this job so much. You develop a lot of one-on-one personal relationships. It keeps you busy, which I like. It’s rewarding knowing you are doing something for them,” she says.

She also picks up CNA shifts at The Newport to be hands-on in patient care.

The Huntington activity director Devyn Hotop graduated in the third apprenticeship class. She still picks up CNA shifts at The Newport.
The Huntington activity director Devyn Hotop graduated in the third apprenticeship class. She still picks up CNA shifts at The Newport.

“In this role, I’ve had so many people help out with stuff. My teammates are always helping me and they always listen. That means a lot. Even in as a CNA, I know I’m coming in to work with people who will help me,” she says.

Devyn says she uses everything she learned during the apprenticeship.

“The class has great teachers,” she says. “Everyone at VHS has been such a good mentor and there’s a lot of support through it all. The class is overwhelming, but worth it in the end.”

CNAs are vital – “they glue down everything,” she says. “They do so much for the residents and provide so much care and spend the most time with them. They know before anyone else if something is off or wrong.”

Anjil Hicks, Northampton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Anjil was the valedictorian of her class that graduated in September 2022. She passed her certification exam on the first try.

She comes from a family of nurses and CNAs. She says listening to her family’s stories encouraged her to go into healthcare as well.

“I’ve always been a caring person, genuine. So I wanted to be a CNA, but I didn’t have the money to pay for the class. This was perfect,” she says of the apprenticeship.

Anjil Hicks was the valedictorian of her apprenticeship class and is a CNA at Northampton.
Anjil Hicks was the valedictorian of her apprenticeship class and is a CNA at Northampton.

Anjil says the team at Northampton “is amazing” and is supportive.

“I love my residents. I love helping to take care of them,” she says. “I love my team. Even from outside (the clinical staff), the administration is just so nice and supportive if you need it. This community, I love it.”

She says her foundation came from the apprenticeship class.

“The instructors are the best teachers ever,” she says. “They always made sure we understood the material before we moved on to something new.”

Anjil says she is considering going back to school to be a RN. She knows the team at Northampton will have her back when she does.

Jazmine Martin, York Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Jazmine was working as a patient care aide when she noticed how CNAs interacted with residents and the nursing team.

“I wanted to do more and I looked up CNA classes and saw the one offered by VHS,” she says.

She graduated the class in September 2022. Jazmine says the job is “always a learning experience – there’s always something new.” She gets support and guidance by her teammates at York and The Hamilton Assisted Living.

Jazmine Martin is a CNA at York.
Jazmine Martin is a CNA at York.

She says she was drawn to senior care after seeing how much help her grandparents needed as they aged.

“I just fell in love with older people,” she says.

Jazmine plans to enroll at ECPI to gain her RN license.

“My son makes me want to continue on. I want to push myself to do more for myself and him,” she says.

Her advice to new apprentices: “Always put the residents first. They can tell you, if they’re able to, but put their thoughts in mind. They know when you are around.”

Laurinda Palmer-Yearby, James River Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Laurinda – she’s called Palmer on the floor – completed the CNA class in February 2022. She’s primarily been on the Warwick unit at James River since graduation.

She worked as a CNA while living in New York City and went through the apprenticeship class to get certified after moving to Virginia. There are different rules and regulations each state follows.

“I was always going to be a CNA,” she says. “My mother, sister and aunt are nurses. My grandmother was a CNA. My family has a lot of nurses and doctors in it and I was always going to be in healthcare.”

She and her apprenticeship classmates remain tight, texting one another to keep in touch. She also likes working at James River.

Laurinda Palmer-Yearby was a CNA in New York before moving to Virginia where she had to be recertified.
Laurinda Palmer-Yearby is a CNA at James River. She comes from a family of nurses and doctors and knew her career path would be in healthcare.

“I like there to be camaraderie on the floor. If I ask questions here, I’ll get an answer the best I can. Most of the time we do pretty good. We learn from one another,” she says.

She is back in school at Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly Thomas Nelson) to be a patient care tech, which is an advanced-level CNA. Laurinda says you learn more about how to evaluate a patient, like therapy does. She plans to have it completed by the end of the summer.

“Being a CNA is a little more personable. In a hospital, you don’t get to know the patients. … You don’t come here looking for a relationship with anybody, but you realize they really enjoy having you around to talk to them and to have you help them get ready for the day and attend activities,” she says.

“I love the energy the residents have to give.”

Join our team

Our applications for the apprenticeship program are available at We also have openings for CNAs at all of our nursing and rehabilitation centers and for our home and community-based services. Visit for more.

VHS celebrates Healthcare Recruiter Recognition Day

It’s National Healthcare Recruiter Recognition Day! We’d like to take some time to introduce you to Virginia Health Services’ recruiter Colleen Reynolds. We appreciate all she does daily to recruit individuals to the organization and help them through to the offer process.

In the past year, Colleen has been in the community to build awareness about Virginia Health Services and our employment opportunities. Her focus made her think outside of the box in attracting talent in a competitive industry.

She hosts the Recruiting Roadshow at each of our seven nursing and rehabilitation centers monthly. She attends career fairs throughout Hampton Roads. She made a stop by the Hampton City Schools Academy Career Fair. And she follows up with recent college grads in the community to make sure they are aware of available career paths at VHS.

Colleen has partnered with Rappahannock Community College, Hampton University and Northern Neck Technical Center to conduct mock interviews and better help the students prepare for the “real world” when looking for employment.

She also focuses on connecting with those in the VA and other military outlets to attract retirees and military spouses to careers with Virginia Health Services.

Recruiting Roadshow logo

Colleen says the Recruiting Roadshow allows her to interact with current team members while they are at work, showing appreciation for what they do and being better able to target qualities in candidates.

“It also means being flexible in completing the interview/offer/new hire paperwork process on site,” she says. The Roadshow also gives candidates the chance to meet the team and management and ask questions.

She says she was drawn to recruiting so she could help individuals reach their career goals.

When I am able to make the initial connection with a candidate and follow them through the interview process, all of the way to the job offer, it is extremely rewarding to be a small part of their professional development and journey,” Colleen says.

The healthcare industry stands out because these positions offer job stability – there’s always a need, regardless of location. She says it’s one industry where starting at entry-level can mean advancement to other specialized roles.

“The possibilities are truly endless within the healthcare industry,” she says.

Colleen was born and raised in New York and has lived in the South for the past 16 years. She is a stepmom and dog mom to two girls, an 11-year-old and a French bulldog. She also is a true crime fanatic.

Careers at VHS

We having openings for nursing positions, dietary, housekeeping and more. View our job listings and apply to careers with Virginia Health Services at

Join Colleen on the Recruiting Roadshow in June and July. Click here for the summer schedule.