South County Health received funding from the Rhode Island Foundation that will help to provide staffing relief to healthcare workers, improve patient care, and create new jobs for Rhode Islanders.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to healthcare workers, including South County Health’s nursing staff. Staffing shortages, particularly among Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who are an essential part of the patient-care team, result in significant burnout among nursing staff.
With the $49,805 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, South County Health is the first and only health system in RI offering an in-house education program that trains individuals to become certified CNAs and guarantees employment upon successful completion of the program and state licensure.
“CNAs are often unsung heroes,” said Anitra Galmore, RN, MS, BSN, NEA-BC, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Nursing Officer. “They directly assist the medical staff by providing physical care to patients. CNAs are the eyes and ears of the clinical staff, observing their patients carefully and making sure the health care team knows of any changes.”
The COVID pandemic has also been associated with mental health challenges, according to Galmore. Another reason why CNAs play an important role in patient care.
“We are seeing an increase in patients with suicidal ideations and behavioral health issues that require a one-to-one sitter. Our CNAs are involved with direct patient care and provide the much needed emotional and spiritual support patients need,” Galmore said. “They are truly making a difference in the lives of patients and families.”
South County Health’s in-house CNA training program is taught by a Master’s level clinical instructor. The free eight-week course provides students with program materials and reimburses the cost of the state licensure exam once a student successfully passes the exam and obtains his/her license.
Students receive an hourly stipend to cover living costs while in training and are guaranteed a full-time position at South County Health upon completion of the program and required licensure.
Creating jobs, cultivating staff
This Rhode Island Department of Health-approved nursing assistant training program aligns with South County Health’s organizational goals and values that support a positive work culture by recognizing individual goals and contributions to quality care, safety, and service.
“By conducting a home-grown program, we can develop essential skills that prepare healthcare job-seekers for entry level positions in the hospital. This program addresses our need for nursing support and creates employment opportunities in Washington County,” said Maggie Thomas, South County Health’s Vice President of Human Resources.
“We are committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing the best and brightest staff who are interested in making a long-term commitment to South County Health,” she said.
The Rhode Island Foundation grant will support three training sessions.
Enroll in the CNA training program
If you would like to participate in the CNA training program and work at South County Health, please see the information and link to apply below.
Free Eight-Week Program includes:
- Program Materials
- Classroom Time and Clinical Time on the Units
- Preparation Support for State Exam
- Training Program: Full-time 40 hours on day shift
- Reimbursement for passing the state licensure exam
- Nursing Assistant Student pay rate: $12.00/hour
- Guaranteed regular-status Patient Care Tech (PCT) position upon successful completion of program and state licensure.