Austin nursing home offering CNA certification on the clock

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(ABC 6 News) – In February of this year, statistics from the State Department of Employment and Economic Development show that certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, are the sixth most in-demand job in the state.

That job is now the fifth most in-demand in the state. One care center in Austin is going the extra mile to bring in qualified workers.

"I just see them as a second family to me," said Regina Raya, a CNA student at the Good Samaritan Society-Comforcare. The program lets her learn different skills while earning a paycheck. She also gets to help patients with their physical, mental, and social needs.

"I just feel like there’s a lot of stuff that you can learn so you can’t say ‘I’ve learned enough.’ Because there’s not enough to learn. Day by day, you learn something new."

The course started in 2021 and lets students go at their own pace. They just need to get it done within three months.

"I think just taking your skills from mannequins to real people is probably the biggest challenge," said Randy Huls, the clinical learning and development specialist at the facility. He helps train the CNA students.

"That’s why I kind of like to slow things down and spend a little extra time with them."

Having more workers is a benefit for the students and the patients.

"They kind of feel like they’re getting pampered because there’s usually two or three of us in there helping," added Huls. "So I think they enjoy it. They get a little more attention than normal."

As for Regina: "My favorite part is coming early in the morning, seeing their face. The first person they see is you so you just have to make sure to make their day nice and wonderful for them. In life, we need to help each other. If we can’t help each other, then how are we going to survive?"

Regina said her advice for aspiring nursing students is to treat people the way you want to be treated and to take a risk.