Hospital pushes CNA training

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island Hospital is leading an effort to create the nation’s first advanced education and accreditation for Certified Nursing Assistants or (CNA). Together with five area hospitals and Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC), MDI Hospital’s education department is now enrolling the first participants in the year-long Experienced CNA program to improve patient care within the CNA scope of practice.

“CNAs spend 45 minutes of every hour in direct contact with patients which makes them a critical member of the health care team,” said Jeff Boal, MDI Hospital’s director of education. “The more knowledge they have the more likely they are to identify a change in a patient’s condition and alert a nurse or other provider.”

Mr. Boal presented the certification program at last week’s Maine Health Workforce Forum where leaders from health care, education, labor and economic development discussed future staffing needs of the health care industry. According to the Maine Department of Labor, the number of jobs in health care nearly doubled from 1992 to 2010 and is expected to continue to grow.

The Experienced CNA program is a collaborative effort between the Health Care Sector Grant Fund, Region 2 of the State of Maine, and the education department at MDI Hospital. Partner hospitals in the region include Maine Coast Memorial in Ellsworth, Blue Hill Memorial, Down East Community in Machias, Mayo Regional in Dover-Foxcroft, and Charles Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Even though the program is considered a pilot, Mr. Boal said it has already been adopted by other medical facilities and educational institutions. When the first class graduates next December, it is Mr. Boal’s hope that the program becomes a fully accredited college program at EMCC that is available to all CNAs.

For more health news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Fenceviewer Staff

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