A year ago, Amy Van Ameyden was a dishwasher at a truck stop. Today, after completing nursing assistant training at Kellogg Community College, she’s a hospice aide and CNA helping others through Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.
Van Ameyden, 34, of Battle Creek, signed up for the CNA training program last fall through KCC’s Innovative Accelerated Credentialed Training (iACT) initiative after learning about the program through a friend. The eight-week program is offered through the College at no cost for Battle Creek residents who meet certain income guidelines.
For Van Ameyden, a single mother to an 11-year-old son with asthma and a daughter of a mother with health issues of her own, the training gave her confidence and the skills required to better care for her family as well as other people.
Once before her training, Van Ameyden said, her mom passed out, and when the 911 dispatcher asked Van Ameyden to feel for a pulse she felt like she had no idea what to do. All that changed after her training, which she completed in December.
“I am grateful for this program. I am grateful for being a CNA,” Van Ameyden said. “It has helped me save lives and change the outcome of situations that prior to being a CNA, I would have failed at.”
The program has completely changed her life, Van Ameyden said, giving it a greater purpose. Her work in hospice care gives her the opportunity to help people of all ages prepare for their next journey.
End of life care is rewarding, she said, and she could never imagine doing anything else.
“I love everything about it, literally,” Van Ameyden said. “I love the time that I get to spend with the people I care for. I love learning about their lives and getting to know their family. I love knowing that I did my absolute best every visit, that they were cared for and they are comfortable.”
Outside of work, Van Ameyden goes to church and loves spending quality time with her son, kayaking, fishing and playing video games. Completing her CNA training was also about encouraging him to think big.
“If you can go from a dishwasher to a CNA at the age of 33 then anything’s possible,” she said. “It’s never too late in life to change things up.”