Tori’s Story: A Journey from Student to STNA

by | Nov 1, 2022

One of this year’s Geauga Growth Partnership’s Youth Workforce Summer Incubator Program participants is Tori Holt, 18, who is currently employed by Ohman Family Living, which serves seniors in three senior living communities and specializes in post-hospital recovery. Tori went to Chardon High School, where she excelled academically. “My counselor at school, Mrs. Blackburn, told me about the program and thought I might be interested in it. You needed a certain GPA and I didn’t have a job at the time,” Tori says. Having grown up the daughter of a nurse, Tori felt drawn to healthcare. “It’s in my heart; I need to be taking care of people and that’s definitely something I got from my mom.”

Tori started the program at the end of her junior year and began working at Ohman Family Living at Briar in Middlefield, Ohio, on June 30, 2021. She credits GGP with walking her through how to feel comfortable at the interview, which really helped. Tori embodies the ideal Incubator student profile. Her enthusiasm is palpable and her confidence is infectious. She showed initiative from the beginning. At Briar, she started as a hospitality assistant, which involved assisting residents with basic needs–making beds, providing water, or helping residents to dining halls. She felt happy to be there, but knew she could provide further assistance. “I wanted to be able to do more for the residents, so I asked if there was a way that I could move up in the ranks,” Tori says. She credits her mentors on the nursing staff who offered support by helping Tori arrange to take a 76-hour course known as the Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP), the precursor to taking the Ohio Health Department’s test to become a State Tested Nurse Assistant (STNA).

Tori speaks highly of the Briar staff development nurses and administrators, particularly Natasha Vanac. “She walked me through getting ready for the STNA test. There’s a written component, and you have to physically demonstrate that you know the skills, and if you miss three steps in the process, you automatically fail. It’s a difficult test; it’s stressful; it’s time consuming–everybody talked about it. She knew I was super nervous, so she made sure that I got to come in for extra training, and she just made me confident about it. And I went in and I destroyed that test; I did great on it.” Tori has been working as a STNA since December and is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the Kent State University branch in Burton.

Tori says she’s learned a lot from her first job, where she has already received meaningful exposure to acute care nurses, respiratory therapists, pulmonologists, and hospitalists. She’s also learning a lot about herself. “I didn’t know that I was going to be this work-oriented, or that I’d enjoy going to work. I realized that the only thing you have to do to be a good employee is just show up and try. If you do those two things, you’re going to be successful.” When asked what skills she brings to the table, Tori is ready with an answer: “I definitely feel like I’m reliable. If you see my name on the schedule, I will be there for my people.” On her plans for the future, Tori says: “I absolutely love my job right now—my residents are my family—but I’m not sure because there’s so many different fields of nursing.” For now, Tori plans to continue her work at Ohman Family Living at Briar after finishing her studies.

Andy and George Ohman, co-presidents of Ohman Family Living, entered into a partnership with GGP because of their strategic priority in helping youth “Prepare the Workforce of the Future.” “We couldn’t be happier to have partnered with GGP to fill a great need within our business and to help a student ascertain their career calling,” says Andy Ohman. “We continually strive to find the best and most compassionate caregivers for our residents, and Tori, at the very beginning of her career, is exceptionally driven and wonderfully caring. We have been impressed with her dedication.”

Tori’s advice for other young people just starting out in a new career exploration through GGP is to be open to anything and everything, attend all meetings, and keep your eye on the purpose of the work. “Everyone at GGP is great,” Tori says. “We worked really well together, considering we didn’t know each other going in. One thing I learned from them is that no matter where you’re going to work, you’re going to have to work as a team with people you don’t know. Listen to what everybody has to say and take notes, because this stuff will seriously help you with your future.”

Tori feels sure her future is in the medical field because it motivates her like nothing else. “When I’m at work, I focus on my patients rather than everything else that’s going on around me. I’m definitely excited to see where this all takes me.”

By Erin Hosier

Want to learn more?
Experience a little of Tori’s day through her video blog.