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As we celebrate National Career Nursing Assistants Week from June 17 – June 23, we are especially grateful to the hard-working and dedicated CNA’s at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. They are, quite simply, the cornerstone  of our organization.

It is also an appropriate time to acknowledge our Temporary Nurse Aide (TNA) program. Originally implemented by Chelsea Jewish Lifecare as a response to the need for direct caregivers during the pandemic, we were one of the first organizations to utilize the program, tailoring it to our own needs and requirements. The TNA program allows individuals interested in becoming a CNA the opportunity to work alongside of a certified  nurse assistant. At the same time, they participate in online training so they will be qualified to take the state certification exam.

“This unique program addresses a number of needs in the skilled nursing community,” said Karen Petruccelli, VP Clinical Quality and Education at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “TNA’s assist the certified nursing assistants, helping residents with areas of care that do not require certification. This allows our CNA’s to focus on areas that do require certification, which helps to improve direct care staffing levels, and with it, the overall quality of care.” Petruccelli added, “The TNA program is an excellent steppingstone for those who want to work in a skilled nursing facility but have not yet been certified.”

By way of background, TNA’s are not the same as certified nursing assistants. They assist the CNA with selected tasks while they are studying and gaining experience which will allow them to take the certification exam. Supervised by the Director of Nursing and Staff Development Coordinator, the TNA program consists of online class work, skills laboratory work and onsite clinical practical experience. To qualify, individuals must be recommended by nursing leadership as having strong potential for success, remain responsible employees and identified as caring individuals.

There are many advantages of this program. For our organization, it makes sense to have current employees apply who have demonstrated a caring attitude and strong work ethic. For staff members, the course is costly to take on one’s own. CJL has recognized the cost of certification and is pleased to offer this benefit to employees.

Once individuals are accepted into the program, they are required to take an eight hour ACHA class and are paired with a CNA who has been carefully selected by the nursing team. There is also a competency sheet that needs to be completed as well as an online course. The entire process takes approximately 6-8 weeks. In effect, the appeal of the program is that it combines hands-on clinical instruction in conjunction with classroom theory and laboratory work. Clinical competence needs to be demonstrated throughout the way.

The Department of Health has acknowledged the benefits of a TNA program like ours in bringing in new CNAs to the industry. Noted Petruccelli, “The innovative TNA program at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare serves as a model to skilled nursing facilities not only across Massachusetts, but throughout the country.”

Chelsea Jewish Lifecare is currently recruiting for the next TNA class. For more information and/or to apply, please contact the Director of Nursing.

We honor our amazing CNA’s and the individuals enrolled in the TNA classes. Congratulations on a job very well done!