My First CNA Fest Experience

Oh the places we can go! I hope to see all of us go to NAHCA CNA Fest 2023 in Little Rock, Ark! We can come together as CNAs to share our passion and celebrate our achievements. For those of you who have been to CNA Fest, let’s feel that excitement again and invite others to join us!

Intense and Exciting

For those of you that have never been, the only way to describe it is by telling my story:

My first CNA Fest was in Oklahoma City. My administrator asked me if I was interested in going and I said, “why not?” I knew I loved NAHCA, but I was unsure of what to expect. It turned out to be intense and exciting. I went as an experienced CNA and returned as an inspired CNA. I was inspired by the things I heard, saw, and felt.

An attendee breaks a board at CNA Fest.

I knew I would be receiving some kind of education. So, I sat down expecting handouts to read from the speakers or your traditional in-service. Boy was I wrong! I heard CEOs, administrators, and other business executives speak of their knowledge of the importance of being a CNA.

We were all equals. This was an education not many CNAs get the opportunity to hear.

Feeling Seen and Accepted

I heard some speakers offer motivation that all CNAs need to hear. Not once did I feel talked down to or made to feel “less than.” I was so motivated that by the end of the second day, as part of an exercise, I broke a board with my bare hand!

I got to see myself through the eyes of others. Every CNA was hungry for information to make them better at our passion. I saw the CNA profession at its finest. We felt power in numbers, so we told our stories…our stories of struggling with life and a career. I saw everyone giving each other support because we could speak freely of being underpaid, not appreciated, and the emotional and physical toll of this profession. I saw everyone, not just CNAs, celebrating us!

We sang songs, danced, chanted, and grew stronger. Coming together as strangers to acknowledge the impact we make in the world. On the last night, CNAs were honored with awards.

We were seen and accepted.

CNAs Have Power!

The part that impacted me the most, was what I felt. I arrived knowing my worth as a CNA. Soon I felt the excitement around me. I noticed how loud we could get together. I noticed how we seemed to make the room go still when we didn’t make a noise.

CNAs have power! My voice grew stronger and braver when I was with this group. I was inspired knowing that I could take this knowledge and courage to advocate for myself, other CNAs, and those we care for. I left seeing my potential and worth.

Since then, I have had the opportunity to attend many more NAHCA CNA Fests, receive awards, and become vice-chair on the Board of Directors. This year in July, CNAs will once again gather as a reminder of what we can and will do. We will come from different settings to become one. It will be the rise of a Careforce!

We are unstoppable together. CNA Fest 2023 will bring our professional to a new level and become a stronger Careforce!

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