Being effective as a certified nurse aide means being a good listener with a willingness to learn, says Leo Holley, CNA, Warr Acres Nursing Center.


by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer

Leo Holley is relatively new to work as a CNA at Warr Acres Nursing Center.
He has served the residents for four months there, but has been a CNA for about seven years, he said. He earned his certification after attending OSU/OKC.
“The passion of taking care of the elderly is something I always wanted to do,” he said. “It just keeps me going every day.”
Holley had just moved to Warr Acres with his family. Warr Acres Nursing Center is only five minutes driving time away from his house, so he found it convenient for his career field.
Holley said his wife is a CMA while his aunt is a registered nurse at St. Anthony Hospital. His cousin is an assisted director of nursing at a nursing home located in Spencer.
As for himself, Holley was 20 years old when he decided to study to become a CNA. His wife inspired him to take the first step that would lead to success.
“She was just telling me it’s a laid-back loving environment. And I believed her and went and headed for it,” he said. “I haven’t looked back since.”
The entire nursing staff works well at Warr Acres Nursing Center to assist elders in their daily activities while providing optimal comfort and care, Holley continued.
“It’s good communication skills,” Holley said. “All the nurses communicate and their aides communicate,” he said. “The whole building really communicates even if a resident knows more information about another resident. The residents let you know what they like and what they don’t like which all goes to the overall care.”
The nursing staff is always willing to help one another whenever a need occurs, Holley said. The licensed practical nurses and registered nurses are always willing to get their hands into action, he added.
“That’s a big thing for me. And the aides will get off of their hall and come help you if you need it,” Holley said.
Being an effective certified nurse aide mean the CNA should always have the willingness to learn and not be stuck in their ways, he said. Health care depends on it. Anyone who has the willingness to learn and a good heart can become a CNA, Holley said. Being a CNA has taught him a lot in seven years.
What he knows now that he didn’t know seven years ago include medical terminology to learning about wheel chairs and all the essential plans of care put into place that he finds at Warr Acres Nursing Center.
“It’s pretty awesome you know. That’s what I’m learning now that I didn’t know then,” he said.
Holley said the CNAs always introduce themselves when meeting new residents coming to the nursing center. Just be yourself, he said.
“Make a good warm feeling,” Holley said. “A good first impression is everything. You’ve got to make the very first impression pretty good.”
As he gets to know them, the seniors enjoy sharing memories of their lives. That’s another big part of communication, he said. Warr Acres Nursing Center is a community.
“You have to listen because they will talk and just need somebody to talk to,” Holley said. “They will tell you all their stories from childhood to young adulthood. Just listen and pay attention to them.”
He complimented the residents for their hospitality.
“It’s their house really. So just them being gracious enough to let us come in and work with them says a lot,” Holley said.
He assists with their dressing and giving them daily reminders at times. There are activities and parties he assists the residents to attend.
“There are games and Bingo, all kinds of good things,” he said.
Some of the residents have had hobbies such as fishing, and Holley enjoys fishing, too, he said.
When asked where he likes to go fishing, Holley said everywhere.
“If there’s a body of water, I’m going to go throw a fishing pole in it,” he said. “Crystal Lake, Lake Overholser, Hefner, Sooner, another lake off of Reno.”
He said he likes using lures to catch Largemouth Bass. Fishing is a waste of gas some days according to his wife, he said.
“I won’t bring back nothing. I’ll be there for hours.”
Holley and his wife have three children including son Sequan, 9; a daughter, Kanyah, 9; and their youngest son, Leo, who will be 8 months old on Dec. 29.
He said it’s usually his wife the children run to when having a cut or bruise from falling. He’s more of a tough love kind of a guy, he said.
Holley is currently attending Oklahoma City Community College where he expects to earn a degree in computer technology.