TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s the same almost everywhere in the country: there just aren’t enough nurses to go around. But two smart women are teaming up to take the shortage down by training more nursing assistants.
Starkeisha Pearson didn’t think this would ever be her career.
“Me and my husband didn’t have the money to send me through school,” said Pearson.
But thanks to an enterprising pair of best friends, today she’s a certified nursing assistant with the badge to prove it.
“Just being able to change lives of others … that is the big key in my heart,” shared Jaclyn Kelly, Co-Owner, C.N.A. Technical Center.
Two years ago, Jaclyn and her friend Ellisa Durrant built their nursing assistant training center and offered the Learn to Earn program. They turned to employers to subsidize students’ training.
“The long-term care industry is really suffering from a great shortage,” stated Ellisa Durrant, Co-Owner, C.N.A. Technical Center.
These programs provide low-income people with an education never before available to them … an education that also leads to better jobs.
“It feels so good to know that we’ve touched so many lives and families,” continued Kelly.
“We’ve made mistakes. All business owners, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care if you are an owner of an NFL team, you make mistakes. You make financial mistakes. But it’s all in how you bounce back,” explained Durrant.
CNA training courses like Learn to Earn are prospering. It’s estimated the vocation will grow by at least 10 percent in the next nine years. Salaries start at $23,000 dollars but can go as high as $34,000 dollars.
The training program runs about eight weeks long and students can work at the same time. If they go on to become registered nurses, salaries can exceed $63,000 dollars.
Contributors to this news report include: Emily Gleason, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Chris Tilley, Videographer.
NURSING SHORTAGE MEANS MORE NEED FOR NURSING ASSISTANTS
BACKGROUND: Nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses (RNs) nationwide. The federal government projects that more than 200,000 new registered nurse positions will be created each year from 2016-2026. Nearly 58% of RNs work in general medical and surgical hospitals, where RN salaries average $70,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) provide intimate, hands-on healthcare to patients in medical settings, helping with bathing, dressing and the basic activities of life. While CNAs can be found in hospitals, most of them work in nursing and residential care facilities, where they interact with patients on a regular basis and get to know them personally. The BLS estimates that demand for CNAs will rise at a rate of 11% through 2026. The median income for CNAs is estimated at $28,530, but earnings may vary according to where you live.
LPN VS CNA: While both licensed practical nurses (LPN) and certified nursing assistants (CNA) provide direct patient care in many of the same settings, such as nursing homes, home health care and assisted living facilities, there are differences between the two careers in terms of education requirements, job responsibilities and certifications needed. A CNA assists the nursing team with a limited scope of basic care duties while under the supervision of an LPN or registered nurse (RN). An LPN, on the other hand, can perform additional tasks to care for patients under the supervision of an RN. CNAs first need a high school diploma or GED certificate and then may enroll in a CNA training program. These programs can be completed very quickly, anywhere from 4-12 weeks, and include classroom hours and clinical practice. LPNs begin their careers with a more in-depth formal training program, which usually takes about 12 months to complete. Like most CNA programs, LPN programs are offered at many community colleges and technical schools and require students to complete much of their training in person.
NEW RESEARCH WARNS ABOUT RISKS: While swapping professional nurses for nursing assistants might seem less expensive for hospitals in the short term, research suggests it’s associated with lower quality of care, increased patient risk and thus higher costs in the long run. “Trying to substitute lower level people in an increasingly complex area is bound to have adverse clinical outcomes,” said lead author Dr. Linda Aiken, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The study drew on survey data from more than 13,000 nurses across 243 adult acute-care hospitals and more than 18,800 patients in 182 of those hospitals, and discharge data for more than 275,000 surgical patients in 188 of them. “Nurses in hospitals with richer skill mixes have lower odds on reporting poorer quality care, lower patient safety, high burnout and job dissatisfaction,” researchers found. Researchers also found that substituting a nurse assistant for a professional nurse for 25 patients was associated with a 21% rise in the risk of dying.
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