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Matt Maneotis’s passion for caregiving started with a friendship. When an elderly friend transitioned from needing some extra help here and there to requiring full-time care, Matt stepped up. He cared for her for six years until she passed away. “I felt the calling at that time,” says Matt. “I could help a lot of people like I helped her and wanted to dedicate myself to that service.”
To achieve his goal, Matt needed to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. As a NextStep learner, he built on his real-world experience and passion, gaining an understanding of the requirements of professional caregiving, knowledge of the health care industry, and commitment to the legal responsibilities of the job. After graduation, he was custom matched with Life Care Center of Evergreen and started his first job as a CNA.
Less than three months later, Matt is already the employee of the month. Amber Carlson, executive director of Life Care Center of Evergreen, says Matt was nominated by residents and associates for “always being attentive to care details and being a strong advocate for our service mission.” We’re not surprised, given what a committed learner he was at NextStep!
Matt attributes his professional success to his open and empathetic attitude while caregiving. “One of my greatest determinations ... is that I not only care for you, but I care about you. The two really can't exist without one another.” It’s an approach he intends to carry through to the rest of his health career as well. Matt says he’s starting to work toward becoming an RN and has a 10-year goal to become a director of nursing.
“I not only care for you, but I care about you.”
Here at NextStep, we consider our learners, graduates and staff part of a caregiving family. Matt’s advice to those just starting their CNA journey is simple: Be open to all experiences, good or bad. “They may not be natural to you. They may be something that is new altogether,” he says, “but in going through those experiences, I think that you may find that love, that joy that can really hook you and draw you in closer and give you more determination to keep going forward with [caregiving].”
And, he wants to make sure aspiring caregivers have the tools they need to start a CNA career. “I hope that I can serve as an example to a lot of people and show that [NextStep] is a great program to get you the experience and the skills needed to continue on successfully within the industry,” he says.
All of us at NextStep are inspired every day by our graduates. We want you to be inspired too. The NextStep caregivers we feature show why CNAs are essential to our communities. They show up every day to help make the lives of those they care for a little happier, a little safer, a little more dignified.
In Matt’s words — “At the end of the day, we're humans taking care of humans.”
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