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Nursing Home Job Outlook: CNAs Are Key

The key to understanding the success of today’s American nursing home is understanding how to hire and retain Certified Nursing Assistants in an industry with over a 50% turnover rate. We live in a world with a growing elderly population and increasing demand to provide diverse, quality care for them. For many families, nursing homes are the answer. And for nursing homes to provide consistent, personal care, CNAs are the lifeblood.

To give perspective on the importance of CNA jobs in nursing homes, let’s examine some stats from the American Health Care Association’s Department of Research (2009 study):

  • There are 1,000,948 direct-care staff working in nursing homes in America. This includes RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.
  • Out of that total, 671,619 are Nurse Aides (aka CNAs).
  • This means 67% of direct-care staff in nursing homes are CNAs.

That large population of CNAs in nursing homes also happens to be spending the most amount of time with residents, compared to other direct-care staff. Activities of daily living (ADLs) are all responsibilities of CNAs, so they spend multiple hours with the resident assisting with toileting, bathing, dressing, eating, and ambulation. The facts and stats demonstrate just how essential CNAs are to the smooth functioning of the modern nursing home.

The demand for CNAs is not going to be diminishing any time soon. So in an industry with a turnover rate of over 50%, how do nursing homes hold onto hard-working, valuable CNAs? Research from a recent study, Q1 2014 Caregiver Trend Report offers insight into the importance of ongoing caregiver training. In fact, 71% of caregivers stated that they must be learning to stay on with a company. Offering paid training gives caregivers the impression that you are investing in them, it binds them to your mission, and it helps decrease the risk of burnout. Other retention tips include contacting CNAs via phone, rather than email - they see it as more personal, and keeping an open line of communication between management and caregivers. Focusing efforts on CNA retention will be a key factor contributing to the success and growth in 2014 for nursing homes across America.