As healthcare roles change, the skills needed by healthcare employees also change. SI PPS has partnered with a number of forward looking nursing home leaders, 1199/TEF and the College of Staten Island to develop a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Registered Apprentice program to help CNA staff obtain the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. The development of the apprentice program was driven by discussions with our partners. It was apparent that they were plagued with universal problems:
To address these problems, stakeholders redefined the skills needed by Certified Nursing Assistants. In early 2019, we recruited and launched our first Certified Nursing Assistant Registered Apprentice Class to teach these redefined skills. SI PPS also submitted a curriculum to the US Department of Labor (DOL) and in September 2019, the SI PPS Apprentice program was recognized by the US DOL as being “Registered as part of the National Apprenticeship System”.
The initial class was a combination of classroom and on the job learning. Each apprentice was assigned a mentor from their organization. The mentor was chosen based on their own top performing skills as in incumbent worker. Together, the Mentor and the Apprentice applied the classroom and on the job skills learned in the workplace. The College of Staten Island also provided a three-credit course in Sociology centered around nursing home life. This also provided the apprentice learners with exposure to college study related to their work. Each Apprentice was hired as a full-time employee while they were earning and learning.
In the end, all nine students passed their statewide exam and three college credit course. Based upon the success of the first class, and at the request of our partners from Eger, Carmel Richmond, Clove Lakes and SI Care Center, we are now launching more apprentice classes to begin in January 2020.
We are in the process of building a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Apprentice program to further develop a career ladder within each organization. You can enter as a Certified Nursing Assistant Apprentice and then move up to LPN using the same apprentice learning approach.
All parties agreed that the need to continually reexamine the skills needed by healthcare workers in a changing environment is necessary to deliver the right care. The apprentice approach is a deliberate and collaborative approach which involves all stakeholders’ ideas and opinions. It also helps to build a stronger on-boarding experience for the new hires and helps promote teamwork through the “earn and learn” approach.