Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) provide essential bedside care to patients and gather vital information necessary for nurses and physicians. They work in a wide variety of environments, from hospitals to nursing homes and even in patients’ own homes. Wisconsin joins 30 states and the District of Columbia in having a training standard higher than the federal government, but politicians in Madison want to lower CNA training standards in Wisconsin. A bill designed to cut training hours is moving in our legislature.
On Wednesday, May 15, the Wisconsin Assembly is scheduled to vote on AB 76, a bill that would cut the educational training hours for CNAs nearly in half.
Having high training standards and receiving high marks for healthcare quality are not unrelated. In fact, they are very closely linked. Having a highly trained workforce ensures that workers are performing at high levels, ensuring a high standard of patient care.
To combat CNA shortages, the answer is to raise pay. Currently, CNAs are some of the lowest paid healthcare workers and they have increased responsibilities to care for our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents, the frail, and the vulnerable. Their work is difficult and often backbreaking – CNAs suffer high rates of workplace injuries.
The important jobs CNAs do should be valued at a higher rate by making improvements in their pay, working conditions, and staffing ratios. This is the only solution to the CNA shortage – not cutting training requirements.
The hasty and reckless public policy proposal to cut training requirements in half for CNAs has the potential to send insufficiently trained CNAs into positions where their lack of training could put patient care in danger.
Stephanie Bloomingdale, President, Wisconsin AFL-CIO
Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer, Wisconsin AFL-CIO