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In-System CNA Training to Fulfill Workforce Needs

The Problem:
Nationwide healthcare staffing shortages coupled with an uneven distribution of workers hits rural areas especially hard, leading many of those hospitals to look toward new approaches to recruitment, retention and workforce supply. Carolinas Hospital System (CHS) – Marion was particularly struggling with recruitment and retention of quality Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).

The Goal:
To create their own training program that will fulfill their workforce needs and improve the quality of care their CNAs provide.

Method & Implementation:
CHS-Marion recognized they were having difficulties ensuring quality CNA hires but realized it was possible to build their own CNA training program. Certification of the program is through the SC Department of Health & Human Services and requires a mix of classroom instruction, skilled laboratory practice, and clinical hours in a nursing home.

Since CHS-Marion already had a nursing home, they simply needed the capital to set up the necessary lab equipment and to pay instructors in the program. They received a timely grant from the Pee Dee Workforce Development Board to do just that, and in September 2017 they accepted their first students.

In addition to the 100 hours of instruction, skilled lab and nursing home clinical rounds required by the state, the hospital also incorporates hospital rounds, additional lab time, and 40 hours of soft skills training to bolster students’ readiness to enter the workforce.

“We do everything from crisis prevention intervention certifications to talking about how to deal with lateral violence and compassion fatigue,” says Christi S. Meggs, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the hospital’s Director of Human Resources. She also notes that the program has garnered wide interest in the community thanks to its tuition-free premise and the fact that the county doesn’t technically have a technical college that services the area.

Since starting the program, the hospital has fulfilled all of its CNA staffing needs through it and currently boasts a 100% pass rate on the state certification boards through two classes. A third is scheduled to start in July 2018.

“The better training and preparation really makes a difference,” says Meggs. “They feel a strong commitment [to us] since we’ve paid for the program and they’ve interacted and worked with the hospital all of the way through.”

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