Healthcare centers and long-term care facilities seeing certified nursing assistant shortage due to pandemic
Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) is one of 16 Minnesota State colleges partnering to deliver emergency certified nursing assistant (CNA) training to members of the Minnesota National Guard. After completing their CNA training, Guard members will serve at healthcare centers and long-term care facilities with the goal to alleviate severe staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In November 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated approximately 400 Minnesota National Guard members to begin training to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
“Our long-term care facilities are facing an all-hands-on-deck moment,” the governor said, “and that’s why we are taking unprecedented action to support skilled nursing workers, residents, and patients. Financial support will help our skilled nursing facilities hire and retain talented staff to care for patients, and the Minnesota National Guard is preparing to fill any staffing gaps.”
More about CNA training at DCTC…
Minnesota National Guard members took the Nursing Assistant course at DCTC via the Minnesota Training Connection (MTC). Guard members accomplished 75 hours of nursing assistant hybrid coursework that included classroom study and experience in a hands-on skill lab along with synchronous online training.
Meriem Aman serves as coordinator for Health & Human Services programs at Minnesota Training Connection. Meriem was excited to offer her expertise to help facilitate the statewide CNA training initiative.
“I was honored to take on the task of coordinating the Minnesota National Guard nursing assistant training at our college,” she said. “We worked hard as a team to get these students skilled to provide care for people who need the most help during these challenging times.”
Meriem noted that after completing nine days of training with a passing grade, Guard members are eligible to take the Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Competency Exam for placement on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Nursing Assistant Registry. They also have the option to continue working as CNAs in their civilian lives, a pathway that offers numerous opportunities for professional advancement in the healthcare field.
“Our first group of Guard members completed their CNA training November 9 to December 5, 2021,” Meriem said. “They passed their NA/HHA Competency Exam Monday, December 6. Our second group will complete their training December 16 and test to become CNAs the next day. This is very high-paced training!”
Minnesota National Guard perspective: Ryan Jungmann
Sergeant Ryan Jungmann, 29, serves in the 134th Brigade Support Battalion of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in the Minnesota National Guard. Ryan enlisted in 2010 and has served more than 11 years. His Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is 91B, or wheeled vehicle mechanic.
Ryan’s military training goes beyond his MOS. “I’m a suicide intervention officer and master resiliency trainer,” he said, “and I also grade soldiers on their gunnery tables.”
Originally from Zimmerman, Minnesota, a rural community in Sherburne County with just over 6,350 residents, Ryan graduated from Becker High School, Class of 2011. He has been married two years, and his wife, Shelby, is a surgical technician. Shelby and Ryan have two children, a son Ezra, age 7, and a daughter, Paisley, age 2. The family has two dogs, Whiskey and Delta.
Ryan loves the outdoors. “I do a lot fishing in the summer,” he said. “I enjoy bonfires with friends and family. I also love spending time with my family and playing video games. He likes first-person shooters and role-playing games, including Skyrim and Diablo 3.
Ryan and his family reside in Zimmerman.
Ryan Jungmann gallery
Ryan Jungmann • Q & A:
What motivated you to start training to become a CNA?
Mainly the fact that I enjoy helping out whenever I can. You know, like, all of y’all, I work here, live here, and serve here in Minnesota. Also, both my mom and my wife, Shelby, have worked as CNAs.
What do you like most about your CNA coursework?
The fact that the training has opened up so many opportunities for me in my educational growth and a possible new career change for me.
What are you looking forward to most in your career as a CNA?
That is still to be determined on what I do with this training and whether I go to school for nursing or not.
What do you enjoy most about serving in the Minnesota National Guard?
The teamwork and camaraderie within the Army is like nothing you will ever see anywhere else.
What are your long-range career goals?
Retire from the Army and have some more schooling under my belt to help me progress in life, not only for myself, but for my family as well.
What advice would you give students thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare?
In my own opinion, you have to want to help others above all else.
What is your most memorable day as a Minnesota National Guardsman?
Probably the day I was promoted to sergeant.
More about the MTC Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Course
This healthcare course introduces you to concepts regarding fundamental human needs, the health/illness continuum, and basic nursing skills in long-term care and/or home-care environments.
Your instruction takes place in a classroom or online setting, and you will also engage in hands-on skills labs. You will acquire your nursing assistant skills in a simulated laboratory setting via demonstration and role-playing.
After successfully completing your classroom or online coursework, you will participate in 24 hours of supervised clinical experience in a long-term care facility.
The course meets the objectives of the federal and state statutory requirements for nursing assistant training. After completing this program, you will be eligible to take the Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Competency Exam for placement on the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Nursing Assistant Registry.
Learn more about CNA training for Minnesota National Guard members at DCTC by contacting:
Health & Human Services Coordinator
Minnesota Training Connection