Challenges in Nursing Staffing

For decades there has been a looming nursing shortage across the U.S. due to an aging workforce and the rigors of the profession, says the National Institute of Health. The pandemic has stressed the nursing workforce even more.

Victoria Conard, Director of Talent Acquisition for Wesley Enhanced Living continuing care retirement communities, affirms that this holds true locally: “Nursing staff recruitment in the Greater Philadelphia area is extremely competitive.”

Proactive Recruitment Efforts at Wesley Enhanced Living

At Wesley Enhanced Living, we have embarked upon several initiatives to create a pipeline of nursing staff for our communities. One is a partnership with local nursing schools to attract more nurses to long-term care. Another is our new Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program.

CNAs are an important part of any care team. Some of their many responsibilities include assisting with a resident’s activities of daily living, administering medication, supporting medical procedures, and monitoring vital signs. CNAs can be student/graduate nurses or those who have completed a state-approved nursing aide training program.

To create a nursing aide training program, we partnered with one of our nurse managers who runs a CNA training school, Quality Care Nursing. In July 2023, we launched the training program for our organization, appealing to both external and internal candidates.

We are thrilled to have such a great response from our own non-clinical staff interested in starting on the nursing career path! We always seek to help our employees reach their professional potential. To date we have enrolled 33 internal and external students in our program.

How Our CNA Training Program Works

Our CNA training is an entry-level program that does not require a specific background to enroll. It is the right fit for someone who is passionate about caring for others and who would feel rewarded by improving our residents’ quality of life.

“Our students say that they want a career change, and they want to help others,” says Victoria Conard.

The program is 4-6 weeks long and is fully funded by Wesley Enhanced Living, so students do not need to pay tuition out of their pockets! Day or night classes are offered to give students some flexibility in their scheduling. After completion, if CNAs work for one year within our communities, they do not need to pay any of their tuition back. Graduates are guaranteed a full-time position with generous benefits and a competitive pay rate at one of our five locations.

Victoria adds, “This state-approved program provides students with hands-on training within our communities to set them up for success. Wesley Enhanced Living is a welcoming and supportive learning environment; and we offer more training after program completion to prepare students for their certification examinations.”