April 30 – Long-term health facilities hold CNA, QMA classes to create pipeline of workers | Fwbusiness | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors
Several long-term health care facilities in the Fort Wayne area, including The Towne House Retirement Community, offer free Certified Nurse Assistant classes. Sometimes known as Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) classes the facility-based classes at The Towne house have been offered since the 1990s. Additionally, Qualified Medication Aide (QMA) classes, are offered by some area long-term care facilities, as well. Besides many of the classes being free they provide opportunities for employment upon successful completion.
Post-pandemic QMA class
Not surprisingly, COVID-19 is playing a role in QMA classes offered at The Towne House, 2209 St. Joe Center Road, a BHI Senior Living nonprofit facility. The first-ever QMA class is being planned.
“I am currently in the process of site approval with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and am hoping to start a QMA class this summer,” Angie Watson, RN, BSN, in-service director, said.
“The pandemic has prompted our thoughts to arm our community with qualified staff to meet the needs of our residents. We want to enhance our nursing department by providing them with continued advancement opportunities that are used as building blocks to furthering their career in nursing,” she said.
QMA class overview
The QMA class teaches prospective students the procedures that are defined within the QMA scope of practice by the state health department under the direct supervision of a nurse. Duties, according to the ISDH website, include administering regularly prescribed medication, applying dressing to minor skin tears, and starting oxygen in an emergency.
The upcoming QMA course will be at least 60 hours of classroom time, covering medication administration, body systems, and more. The QMA can then complete at least 40 practicum hours at The Towne House, Watson said.
CNA class overview
Briefly, the CNA class is a minimum of 30 hours and covers everything that is listed within a CNA’s scope of practice. CNA students learn how to assist residents with their activities of daily living. These include brushing their teeth, getting them dressed, helping them to use the bathroom, bed making and taking vital signs, Watson said. After the classroom portion is complete students have an opportunity to be hired by Towne House and can then begin the clinical portion of their training, which must be at least 75 hours.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and classroom size, classes are limited to around six students. This enables more student-focused time to make the learning atmosphere more beneficial to the students, Watson said.
“We follow the Indiana State Department of Health’s required curriculum. I teach at least four CNA classes per year,” Watson said. Adding, “My next class is tentatively schedule for the end of June or the beginning of July.”
Final exams for both CNA and QMA students are administered by Ivy Tech Community College at The Towne House. The charge is $75 if the student is taking both the written and skills portion. If only one test is being taken (written or skills) the cost is $65. The Towne House covers the cost for the student’s first attempt to test if they are employed there, Watson said
Nurse Aide Registry
According to an ISDH statement, the CNA and QMA certification programs ensure individuals meet requirements for their respective program and that they are on the Indiana Nurse Aide Registry.
Dependability, a good work ethic, and a willingness to help others manage their daily life activities are traits of a good CNA. Experience, however, is not necessary.
“When I interview candidates for the class, I look for someone who is hard-working and dependable. A person who enjoys working with people is helpful since the vast majority of their work is providing care and support to people,” Watson said.
Potential employment opportunities are available after the class is complete. BHI Senior Living, based in Indianapolis, has several facilities in Indiana. Criteria including attendance, promptness, and participation are important factors used to determine eligibility for employment, Watson said. Last year approximately 95% of the students became employees afterward.
“The starting wage for a CNA is $12 per hour with a 50-cent raise once they are certified. The QMA starting wage is $15.50 per hour,” Watson said.
For more information on Towne House’s classes, call 260-483-3116 and ask for Angie Watson.
Several local facilities contacted directly did not respond to requests for comment on their classes.