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Where healthcare heroes are born

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital–

 While Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH) is full of people who work hard every day to heal and protect their friends, loved ones and neighbors, many do this behind the scenes with little recognition. 

These hometown heroes bear many titles — and one of them is Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). 

Earlier this month, Bella Sera promoted six new graduates of the CNA program, which is offered to local applicants several times per year.

“CNAs have an opportunity to work with the members of our community who would otherwise be displaced,” said LVN Eddie Conde who is also director of staff development and infection prevention at Bella Sera. Bella Sera is the skilled-nursing facility on the RRH campus. Residents are often older and have health issues that limit their autonomy and independence. CNAs perform much of the day-to-day support that keep residents safe, comfortable, and healthy. 

Conde, who started his career in healthcare as a CNA, now runs the program at Bella Sera for the trainees. Since the pandemic the cohorts have been smaller, but 32 finished the program last year and 18 completed it this year. 

Students must work at least one day a week during their training. After completion, if they pass the required CNA certification exam, they can come back to work at Bella Sera as employees. 

“Having this program definitely helps the staffing needs not only at Bella Sera, but at RRH in general,” said Conde. 

“Not everyone is a great fit for Bella Sera, but there are other departments where CNAs can get hands-on experience. It’s a great stepping-stone toward nursing, and they can explore that field and decide if it’s where they want to work.”

The skills and knowledge they obtain are foundational to nursing. “The program itself is free, you have a job during the program, you have the possibility of a job after, and there is the potential to advance if you choose,” said Conde.

“CNAs are caring individuals who do not mind working hard for little to no thanks or recognition. But for most of us, it helps find our footing and exposes us to different character-building situations that can solidify our career choices.”

If you would like to apply for the CNA program, email .

Where healthcare heroes are born