Sam Morris likes to wear bright socks.
“Yellow, blue,” he says. “The brighter, the better.”
On this day, he is wearing dark socks emblazoned with multicolored stripes in horizontal and vertical patterns. With his bright socks and bright smile, he brings cheer to the workplace as a Homeland Center Certified Nursing Assistant.
Homeland’s corps of skilled, motivated CNAs is an essential element in providing quality care for residents. Through their training and certification, they learn to assist residents with daily tasks such as feeding and bathing, and they support the nursing staff with basic medical duties including taking vital signs.
Morris knew all about the role of CNAs in nursing care because his late mother was a CNA at Homeland for many years.
“She was one of the originals,” he said. She taught him that a CNA “helps out everybody that needs help. You have to be compassionate.”
Morris has been a CNA in nursing homes since 1999, and he finally joined Homeland in October 2015.
“I like the good attitude here,” he says. “Everybody is family-oriented. It’s more like family than a job.”
As a lead CNA in second-floor skilled care, Morris is responsible for promptly completing needed tasks and that all equipment is operating. It’s all toward the goal of “making sure that the resident is safe.”
In Homeland’s quest for constant improvements, a new system for assigning daily duties promotes increased teamwork among CNAs.
“It works better that way,” says Morris. “If you need help, your partner’s right there with you. You don’t have to run for help.”
Before being assigned permanently to second-floor skilled care, Morris floated where needed, so he got to know all the residents. He has helped with activities including bingo and outings, as well.
He appreciates the many chances that residents have to engage with each other and enjoy community outings. He likes talking to them about family, the weather, and the day’s activities coming up.
Morris has lived in Harrisburg since he was 4-years-old and graduated from John Harris High School in 1990. He is among the 40 percent of employees who live in Homeland’s surrounding neighborhoods, part of Homeland’s commitment to the city it has served since 1867.
He loves the short, convenient walk to work every day and the proximity to mouth-watering barbecue from nearby Broad Street Market or Camp Curtin BBQ Station. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music – Michael Jackson is a favorite – and getting together with his tight-knit family, including his two sisters and nieces and nephews.
Homeland helps CNAS maintain their certifications, with reminders every two years when they are up for renewal. Homeland, Morris says, is “a good place to be.” Even when days get frustrating or physically challenging, he keeps his focus.
“We’re here for the residents,” he says.