Training program

Learning on the job: Trio completes innovative training program at East Side in Warsaw | Featured story

WARSAW — Three temporary nursing aides were recognized Thursday after completing a rigorous, accelerated program at the East Side Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Alexis Muehlbauer, Grace Morse and Stephanie Hinz participated in a 12-day training and education to become certified practical nurses and received certificates for completing the program.

“It was very beneficial,” Morse said. “I learned a lot – a lot of stuff you don’t normally learn, how to present different situations in different ways. It’s a good program. I would do it again.

The ceremony took place alongside a handful of residents of the facility. Certificates of completion were presented to the three interns by Caroline Gray, president of the facility’s Residents’ Council.

Muehlbauer, Morse and Hinz had to complete 150 hours of on-site work in addition to this 12-day schedule and will soon complete their state tests.

East Side hired educator Sophia Mikolon to create the condensed curriculum.

“It was difficult, but it wasn’t impossible,” Mikolon said. “They were attentive and respectful. They had experience on the court and they understood the little things that you really only get on the court.

This program was created in response to the staffing shortages currently facing the healthcare field.

“It’s better than before, but it’s not where we want to be,” said Lorelle Clark, director of nursing at East Side.

Clark said the program is the result of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services waiver that was created in part to help long-term care facilities hire more staff.

“When I hired them, I promised them that we would find a way to get them certified,” Clark said. “They’re hard workers – they’re great girls.”

Clark said East Side is looking to continue the program for as long as it can.

The traditional CNA program takes six to eight weeks and will resume after the waiver deadline ends.

“It was stressful but I had a lot of confidence and I knew I could do it,” Muehlbauer said. “It was just a really good program – the teacher was amazing and the group I worked with was really amazing as well.”

The next course will start on March 28 and will welcome three more trainees.

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