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Director of Education grows with Virginia Health Services

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Princess Henderson became the Director of Education at Virginia Health Services in June. But she is well-acquainted with VHS and its education programs.

Princess has been with VHS since 2008, serving in a variety of roles. Most recently, she was an instructor with the education team, teaching the Care Assistant apprentices.

She says her journey with Virginia Health Services comes full circle with this move. When Princess started with VHS, she was in the class she now teaches and will oversee in her new role. She was valedictorian of her class.

Princess Henderson started working for Virginia Health Services in 2008 as a Care Assistant and now is the Director of Education.

Princess recently finished her bachelor’s degree in nursing and was figuring out the next step when she said this opportunity presented itself.

“Every time I feel antsy or think I might step away from VHS, an opportunity comes along,” she says.

“I’m invested in this company and invested in the (mostly) women in education. I get to have a hand in our next generation of nurses.”

She says she likes to make an impression on the students in the CNA classes. “We have to tell them it’ll be worth it. Just focus on your goal and remember you are here for your patients,” she says.

The education team is looking to hire a LPN to do skills with the students so they can run more than one class at a time.

Princess says she tried to break into education with VHS as early as 2016, when she was ADON at York. As a new RN, she didn’t quite have enough experience under her belt. Now, with ADON experience at York and Coliseum in addition to being an instructor, the time was right for the promotion to Director of Education.

“I knew the CNAs needed more nurturing, someone who had been in their shoes who had real-life advice for them,” she says.

“I want to continue to grow with VHS and help develop this program into something greater than it already is.”

Princess’s career has been with VHS. Before become ADON at York, she worked at James River after earning her Nurse Aide certification, then becoming a RN.

“I’m thankful for what VHS has given me to help me accelerate my career,” she says. “I appreciate all VHS has done to help me be successful.”

Apprenticeship program

The earn-as-you-learn apprenticeship program graduates Care Assistants to Nurse Aides. It also covers the cost of the certification exam to become a CNA. New classes will sign a 12-month contract to stay on as employees of VHS.

To apply for the apprenticeship program, visit vahs.com/careers. Look for the “Care Assistant” job description and apply.

Other programs

The team at the Education Center coordinates in-services and trainings for the team. That includes updating CPR certifications for staff, offering review sessions before certification exams for CNAs and more. The team also works with Director of Team Engagement Kathryn Fisher who can connect team members to assistance, scholarship opportunities and nursing programs that offer discounts to VHS employees.

Outside opportunities to grow at Virginia Health Services include partnerships with ECPI and South University. Both offer discounted tuition to VHS employees and their dependents. The universities offer nursing programs, and also extend to team members in dietary, accounting, IT and management.

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