CNA program director Kelly Anne Sanders

Learn more about CNA program director Kelly Anne Sanders.

Get to know Concordia University Ann Arbor’s new CNA program director

Concordia University Ann Arbor is proud to offer a CNA program. Our program recently received its approval from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Healthcare Services. Whether you’re a member of the community or a current student, Concordia’s program is ready to meet you where you are and help you reach your goals.

Kelly Anne Sanders, RN, MSN, is heading up this program. Sanders brings years of experience in teaching future CNAs. Get to know Sanders by reading her responses below.

Note: Sanders’s responses are typed in italics.

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m a second-career nurse. I had a previous career in communications, and I taught in higher education. I was a director of nursing, so I’m well-versed in regulations. Some of my previous work includes marketing, as well. I didn’t realize it until I became a nurse, but communication is all-encompassing. Communication is definitely the most important skill that employers are looking for in healthcare. 

Some of my hobbies include camping, hanging out with my dogs, scrapbooking, sleeping, and traveling.


What made you want to become a nurse?

My family had experienced some health struggles. This inspired me to think about a career as a nurse. When my son went to Kindergarten, I went to my nursing fundamentals class. A lot of my experience is in long-term care. I didn’t plan to be in long-term care, at first. I got my feet wet working in acute care. After thinking about my skillset, I realized I was strong in education, and I liked it. At this point, I took a job in staff development in a long-term care unit as a nurse educator. Even though I had decided after my geriatrics clinical that long-term care wasn’t for me, geriatrics is where I ended up. I ended up loving the people.

My work as a hospice nurse is somewhat surprising to others because I didn’t intend to work in hospice. However, I ended up getting trained as an end-of-life doula. I even had a business doing this. While students might not realize this, hospice can be a great fit for some people. I found that most of the work was emotional care, and you can build great relationships with the patients. These relationships can be deep with the patients’ families, too. For me, personally, it’s the most critical time of their life, and you get to positively impact that. 


What drew you to Concordia? 

I was excited about the opportunity to teach. I have experience teaching this course in my community already, so I was drawn to the excitement of starting a new program and developing it. Finally, the fact that Concordia is a faith-based university drew me here, as well.


What can a CNA do? 

The CNA provides almost all of the needs of a resident in a long-term unit. These basic needs are called the Activities of Daily Living, and they include:

  • Feeding
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Emotional support
  • Teeth brushing
  • Bedtime prep
  • Assisting with toileting
  • Transporting the resident to activities

CNAs spend a lot of time with the resident. All of the CNA’s work is done under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).


Why should someone consider becoming a CNA? 

Becoming a CNA can be a great way to earn a competitive wage. When you earn this certification, you know that you’re getting trained in a healthcare skill that’s always in-demand, and the field continues to grow. The CNA position is truly the most important position in long-term care. The regulating organizations look to the CNAs because they’re doing the bulk of the work. CNAs are essential members of the resident’s care team.

Not only is the work highly important, it’s personally rewarding. When you’re a CNA, you have the opportunity to impact a person’s life for the better each day. Finally, there can be a lot of flexibility in your job as a CNA. For example, you might be trained in long-term care, but you can work in hospitals, hospice, home health, and other areas.


Why should someone come to Concordia for CNA training? 

This program differs from the others out there. We’re focusing on some of the hot-topic issues: elder abuse, dementia, reducing falls, infection control and COVID. These topics are at the forefront of long-term care. Becoming a CNA is a great bridge for becoming a nurse, as you’ll be able to experience some of the work and key topics. 

Besides our focus on relevant topics, Concordia has a diverse group of instructors who each bring their unique experiences to the classroom. Concordia’s facility has a SIM lab, which allows students to utilize AR and VR. We’re able to provide advanced opportunities for learning. 


Do you want to know more?

If you’re interested in learning more about earning your CNA certification through Concordia, connect with Kelly Anne Sanders here.

— Vanessa Lane is the Content Marketing Lead at Concordia University and can be reached at When she's not at work, she can be found playing with her kids or watching NBA basketball with her husband.

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