Springpoint Senior Living, a New Jersey senior housing and care company that reaches 11 counties across the state, launched an innovative pilot program designed to promote leadership and professionalism among its most promising certified nursing aides.
The Springpoint Nurse Aide Advancement Program has brought measurable rewards not only to the lead CNAs (LCNAs) as program graduates are called, but also to the entire care team at Springpoint continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) as well as to residents.
Staff retention is up. Job satisfaction has risen, said Mary Ann Heiman, RN, director of nursing at Crestwood Manor, a Springpoint CCRC in Whiting, N.J. The LCNAs have become excellent mediators and problem-solvers, not to mention great teachers and role models.
The program is a six-week, 36-hour course taught at several rotating CCRC locations by Edie Walters of Washington, D.C.-based LW Consulting. Class content is focused on building skills in critical thinking and communication and resident-directed care, such as end-of-life care and restorative nursing.From left, Judi Porter-LoBue, RN, director health services, Springpoint Senior Living; Mary Ann Heiman, RN, director of nursing, Crestwood Manor; Linda Rose, RN, vice president, health services, Springpoint Senior Living; Lia Calderone, CNA, Crestwood Manor; and Felicity Agyemang, CNA, Stonebridge at Montgomery.
The programs most important payoff? Better care. My InnerView survey results show a 6% increase in resident and family satisfaction since the program was started in 2009, placing Springpoint in the top 10% of its peer group.
By promoting teamwide improvements in morale and job satisfaction, the LCNA program has helped address the chronic issue of staff retention. At Crestwood Manor and Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman, N.J., another Springpoint community, CNA stability has risen by 15% and 20% respectively, according to My InnerView surveys.
Thanks to their training and new confidence, the LCNAs have been a benefit to the entire nursing staff, acting as an extension of the licensed nurse. Its almost like having another supervisor on the floor, said Donna Murray, RN, director of nursing at Stonebridge.
The CNA staff has benefited by gaining a trusted confidante and early-intervention problem-solver. Theyre not always comfortable going to the staff nurse, Heiman said. The LCNA can bridge that gap, or a lot of times they can take care of things right on the spot.
The LCNAs, who receive ongoing training each quarter, act as informal supervisors to the CNA team. They provide on-the-spot and quarterly in-service training to other aides. They also train newly-hired CNAs. Reflecting their additional responsibilities, they earn a higher salary than other CNAs.
The LCNAs free up the nurses to spend more clinical time with residents, Murray said.
For information, visit www.springpointsl.org.