Certified nursing assistant initiative program extended

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Certified nurse assistants, also known as CNA, are entry-level members of a patient’s healthcare team. Their duties include performing important patient-centered tasks under the supervision of licensed nursing staff. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, there were significant CNA shortages in senior living centers.

Before the Next Generation Nursing Assistant Initiative, certified nurse assistants were leaving the field. The Minnesota National Guard had to help struggling long-term care facilities and veterans’ homes. Initially, the program aimed to trained 1,000 certified nurse assistants, but initiative resulted in over 1,300 CNAs trained.

Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, explained the process of being certified is a two or three week program normally. “This is a really big deal, because before this initiative was launched, people were dropping out of the program because they were just struggling to pay the cost of it. And we’re seeing now much greater retention. And I think that would be a really interesting way of of using this training to help take care of someone that you love.” Sen. Smith said. Leftover money from the American Rescue Plan will cover the costs of training, uniforms, and others expenses for the certification process.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were significant needs in health care not addressed. Many health care workers struggled with the influx of patients, and certified nursing assistants were crucial for many patients.

“Also when a lot of these health care providers became ill themselves, and as a result of the pandemic and also just the big demographic shifts that we’re seeing in our country right now, there are just a lot of shortages in health care. Broadly speaking, including for this certified nursing assistant role.” Sen. Smith said.

For more information on being a CNA you can look here http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/CNATraining/.

If you like to read more about how the program began you can read it here https://www.wdio.com/archive/minnesota-guard-members-deploy-to-first-three-care-facilities/.