‘Be the change you want to see’: Jamaia Chase’s CNA journey

Sometimes our callings find us before we realize it. Such is true for Jamaia Chase.

Jamaia graduated high school in 2020. A season of change that is already difficult for everyone was only complicated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Photo of Jamaia Chase

With campuses closed and class options limited to online, Jamaia followed in her mother’s footsteps and applied to Liberty University. There, she chose to study pre-law, pulling on her desire to help others and her community. At the same time, she was working as a caregiver.

“I had to become a caregiver at 18 years old because my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer,” Chase said. “It was the end of my junior year, and her cancer spread quickly, so I had to help my mom, aunt, and official caregivers with keeping up with medications, attending to her, and being intentional in spending time with her. Eventually, I applied for an official caregiver position because I had enough experience to do the job well.”

While keeping up and excelling at her pre-law studies, Jamaia began working with patients of all ages. At every turn, she allowed her experience of caring for her grandmother to guide her actions and attitude toward patients.

“While many people who cared for my grandmother were nice, there were also some who simply showed up to get the job done,” Chase said. “Some would come in, not speak, do their tasks, and then leave. I think the least a caregiver can do is provide a smiling face. I make sure I listen to my patients and take time to read with them, do puzzles, and play games.”

For two years, Jamaia balanced her caregiving work with her pre-law classes. Although it was never her initial goal, she realized that caregiving had become more than a job. It is her calling.

“I always wanted to help people, and I believed the law field was where I was meant to be,” Chase said. “But this year realized that I’m already living the lifestyle I want to live and making an impact right now in healthcare.”

After leaving her law program, she decided that the first thing she needed to do was become a certified nursing assistant. While looking for options, her close friend Layla was already going through CNA classes and recommended HireLocal.

Jamaia applied shortly after and joined their essential skills training course. 

“From day one, they have been on point and helped me pursue this career,” Chase said. “What has stuck out the most is their wisdom on change.”

“Most people think that change means doing something different,” Chase continued. “My instructor told us that change can also be adding something new to what we’re already doing rather than trying to fit somewhere we’re not meant to be.”

Jamaia is now charging full speed ahead into her CNA career through HireLocal’s program. After becoming a CNA, she wants to work via ShiftKey, a platform that allows users to bid on shifts they want to work on their own time. By building her schedule, Jamaia can go back to school to pursue her Nursing degree. 

Although she does not know what hospital or clinic she wants to work at after college, she knows she wants to remain in Memphis and sees impacting her hometown as a necessity, not an option.

“I know I want to stay in Memphis,” Chase said. “I’ve always been big on the mantra ‘be the change you want to see,’ and I feel like if you can’t make an impact in your hometown, how do you expect to make a change elsewhere?”

Jamaia did not expect to pursue this career, but it found her nonetheless. Through her determination and with the help of HireLocal, she is poised to thrive in the Memphis healthcare community.

For those considering a CNA career, Jamaia believes HireLocal will equip you for success.

“If you’re thinking about taking this leap, stop thinking and make the jump,” Chase said. “They go beyond preparing you for exams and teach you skills that you may not think you need at the moment but will realize later on are vital.”

We’re proud of the incredible journey Jamaia has traveled so far, and we know even greater things are in store for her. 

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