Eleven certified nursing assistants (CNAs) received their geriatric nurse assistant specialist designation at Windward Gardens Wednesday, May 21.

Five CNAs from Windward Gardens and six from Harbor Hill in Belfast, both of which are operated by Genesis Health Care, based in Kennett Square, Pa., graduated from the 10-week course, according to Jane Lewis, one of the Windward Gardens CNAs who graduated. She said the classes were split between the two facilities, with the graduation in Camden.

Lewis said those in the course had to not only be CNAs, they also had to have worked for Genesis for at least a year and be “outstanding employees.” There was an application and interview process for the training, she said.

The CNAs learned how to improve their communication with coworkers, patients and families, to identify different personality types and interact well with them. The course also delved into diseases and conditions of the elderly, such as diabetes, to give participants more information than basic CNA training, Lewis said.

She added that, with their new designation, the graduates can be part of the team formulating a care plan for an elderly patient. They can also take part in interviewing during the hiring process. The training will enable the CNAs to “be leaders on the floor,” she said.

Windward Gardens CNAs receiving their GNAS were Liz Farias, Lisa Leeman, Lewis, Iris Rodgers and Teuta Trebicka. Harbor Hills recipients were Jewell Curtis, Hattie Moulton, June Perry, Sue Reynolds, Marley Riley and Chasity Taylor.