HCHC’s Carpenter Named Third Place Winner in the 2019 Tennessee Healthcare Association CNA Essay Contest

Cutline:  Pictured is Melissa Carpenter, CNA, HCHC Staffing Coordinator. Her essay was recently awarded third place in the 2019 Tennessee Healthcare Association CNA Essay Contest.

PARIS, TN – Tennessee Healthcare Association, an organization that is dedicated to helping maintain the high standards of licensed long-term care facilities in Tennessee selected Melissa Carpenter, Henry County Healthcare Center CNA and Staffing Coordinator, as third place winner for her essay on her job as a Certified Nursing Assistant in long term care.

Carpenter wrote in her heartfelt essay, “Always remember when working with residents, you become their eyes when they cannot see, their ears when they cannot hear and their mouths when they cannot speak.”

“Melissa has a very strong work ethic and is very involved in every aspect of the Healthcare Center” said Peggy Jacques, RN, HCHC Director of Nursing Services. “She works very hard to improve morale; we cannot say enough good things about her.”

Carpenter has been a CNA at Henry County Healthcare Center for nine years.  She also worked at Henry County Medical Center for nine years and Home Health before coming to HCHC. Carpenter is married with one daughter and two grandchildren. Carpenter and her husband live in Huntingdon, TN. She obtained her CNA certification at what is now Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Paris, TN.

“She is very dedicated and dependable. She will work anywhere, any shift, wherever she is needed, said Sandra Ray, HCHC Administrator “Melissa is high energy and even dresses up as Mrs. Claus for our residents at Christmastime.”

Carpenter’s essay will be featured on the home page of the Tennessee Healthcare Association website and will also appear in the summer or fall issue of THCA’s Perspective magazine. You can also view her essay on our website at www.hcmc-tn.org.

About Henry County Healthcare Center
Henry County Healthcare Center is a 136-bed facility providing skilled and intermediate care with an emphasis on rehabilitation services through the Plumley Rehabilitation Center located at 239 Hospital Circle in Paris. For more information: www.hcmc-tn.org.

About Henry County Medical Center

Located in Paris, TN, Henry County Medical Center is a progressive, integrated healthcare organization committed to serving the healthcare needs of Henry County and the adjoining region.  Including a 142-bed hospital and other facilities, the medical center provides a variety of outpatient services, as well as inpatient care. Additionally, HCMC owns and operates 7 provider clinics in various specialties.  Henry County Medical Center is a county-owned and operated nonprofit institution. For more information: www.hcmc-tn.org.


Read Melissa Carpenter’s essay below:

What would you tell a friend considering a job as a CNA in Long Term Care?

I have been working as a CNA since 1992 and it’s truly been a “Labor of Love”.

Your residents are the greatest motivation and it is their smile that makes your day worthwhile.


As a CNA, we have the privilege of bringing a little sunshine into our resident’s lives every day.  Sometimes all it takes to brighten someone’s day is a few kind words, a pat on the back or just a smiling face.  By doing these simple tasks it gives you the OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE in someone’s life.

We as caregivers must remember that it is an uphill battle for not only our residents but for the family also.  Many of our residents have either had surgery, dealing with life threatening illnesses or have lost their independence and are no longer in control of their lives.  This makes most residents and family members very frightened because now they are being faced with decisions of a lifetime. They will need all the TENDER LOVING CARE and ENCOURAGEMENT that you can give. If your resident is having a sad day go outside and pick her a flower and remind her she “can do this and everything is going to be okay”.  Most of the time this will bring a smile to her face and it doesn’t cost anything.  All you did was   show a little TENDER LOVING CARE and spoke a few words of ENCOURAGEMENT.  Believe me it will make your heart SMILE.

Always be COMPASSIONATE  as a caregiver.  My passion as a caregiver, is to create happiness in the lives of the residents that I provide care to.  Compassion towards people is the most vital quality needed to be successful in providing the best quality care.  Compassion enables caregivers to treat residents as if they are their own family members, with dignity and respect.  Displaying compassion in our everyday activities will paint a pleasant picture for your residents to view.  This picture of compassion that we create isn’t something that can be recorded on film, stored on a disk, or hung on a wall.  Rather, it’s engraved in the hearts of not only the residents but also their families.  This is far more valuable than any picture ever taken by a photographer.

Just as a camera is inoperable without a lens, a caregiver is ineffective without compassion.  It will allow you to grow both professionally and personally in your journey to provide the best quality care.  The picture of shining smiles, bright eyes, and the overall joy of my residents who I see every day is my enduring REWARD that continually encourages me to seek out opportunities to extend compassion both in my career and in my life.

Although your resident’s reality may not mirror yours, they are a fountain of knowledge and experiences just waiting for the right mode of expression.  Your patience and love can bring a resident out of their shell.  Seeing the world through your resident’s eyes is a beautiful wondrous thing.  If you will let them, your resident will show you that life does not end with the onset of surgery, life threatening illnesses or the loss of their independence.  The twist and turns will make the journey all more REWARDING  for you.  Always remember when working with residents, you become their eyes when they cannot see, their ears when they cannot hear, and their mouths when they cannot speak.  If you choose your new career path as a CNA remember the best is yet to come.