Port care facility offers to pay for training needed by skilled caregivers
Like health-care facilities around the country, Heritage Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is struggling with a shortage of certified nursing assistants.
To address the staffing void, the Port Washington care facility has opted to take matters in its own hands, offering to pay for training for its new caregivers.
“We are excited to offer this first-of-its-kind program for our community,” said Angela Willms, executive director of Heritage.
To become a CNA, health-care workers must complete 120 hours of training.
Finding new workers with that training has proven increasingly challenging.
“As a long-term care provider, we are committed to offering the best care possible for our elderly and disabled residents, but that requires sufficient staffing,” Willms said.
“It is a requirement that has become that much more difficult to achieve because of the increasing challenges to compete for needed staff.”
Willms said the center has between 40 and 50 nursing assistants on staff, but there are more than a dozen unfilled positions.
“In an effort to reduce this shortage in Ozaukee County, we are offering free classes to individuals wishing to become certified nursing assistants as long as they are employed at Heritage in Port Washington or Cedar Springs in Cedarburg upon completion of the class,” she said.
“Additionally, a tuition reimbursement program is offered to employees to further encourage them to expand their nursing career with one of our centers in an affordable manner.”
Willms said the problem is not just the challenge of recruiting new nursing assistants, but trying to keep the existing staff from burning out.
“When providers can’t compete, they are forced to rely even more heavily on current staff, with the end result too often being worker fatigue and they end up searching for a new workplace,” she said.
Willms stressed the need is not unique to Heritage, a point that is underlined in a new Long-Term Care Workforce report that shows Wisconsin nursing homes and assisted-living providers are facing a workforce crisis.