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APPRENTICE SPOTLIGHT: Morgani Freeman - Loretto Health & Rehabilitation and 1199 UHE TEF Upstate

Patience, Compassion, and LPN Mentorship

After 12 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Morgani Freeman wanted to “do something different” while building on her years of experience in health care.

Morgani's unwavering passion for caring for others prompted her desire to advance her career. When she decided she wanted to take the next step in her career, she researched returning to school but was unsure how difficult it would be given that it had been more than a decade since she had been a student. Morgani felt she would benefit from the extra support that a registered apprenticeship program offers.

“Doing an apprenticeship is a good thing. Especially if you’re an adult who hasn't been in school for a while, it's definitely that extra support you need. You can get support on an everyday basis.”

Now, Morgani is pursuing a new healthcare career as a graduated practical nurse at Loretto Health & Rehabilitation in upstate New York. Thanks to her labor management training partnership registered apprenticeship program, she can continue working on her education while learning and earning on the job.

Morgani’s apprenticeship cohort consists of six other union members, several of whom have become close friends as well as peers. “We became like family to each other,” she explained. They studied subjects like maternity, medication, anatomy, and attended clinicals and labs before actually working with patients in a clinic.

Her unique apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with classroom training. In this dual training model, what Morgani and her cohort learn in the classroom is reinforced at work, which eliminates the school-to-employment gap that exists in many critical emerging healthcare occupations. Even though she went through her apprenticeship during the pandemic, learning via Zoom, she still gained valuable skills as well as the camaraderie of her cohort.

“You [get] paid to go to school with this program. Even though I'm balancing family life, work life, and also school, I always keep going,” Morgani said.

With the economy changing, going from a CNA to an LPN means a salary difference – more responsibility and more money. That boost in pay has opened up opportunities, allowing Morgani to think about buying a house, a dream she had always wanted to fulfill for her three children.

Today, her work takes place on the rehabilitation side of Loretto Hospital. Her calm, uplifting, confident demeanor gives her patients a sense of warmth and a safe place to heal. Morgani understands the vulnerability that comes with inpatient care, but whether they’re in for a back injury or full rehabilitation, her patients can sense from day one that they are in good hands.

Morgani’s top pro-tips:

  1. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t sound right, always question it. Doctors and other nurses make errors, and there’s nothing wrong with asking questions.

  2. Don’t rush. Somebody can talk you through things for reassurance.

  3. Lead from the heart. Have compassion for your patients, and have patience. You know why they’re there, and you can make them feel at home.

Supported by her registered apprenticeship program, Morgani is determined to pursue further advancement in her career. “In fall 2025, I plan on applying to nursing school.”



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