Updated: December 03, 2021 09:49 PM
Created: December 03, 2021 04:00 PM
Select Minnesota National Guard members are being trained in basic patient care to help at long-term care and nursing facilities experiencing worker shortages across the state.
Guard leadership announced 300 members will be trained this week to become Certified Nursing Assistants while another 100 members are learning the skills to be Temporary Nursing Assistants.
"The pandemic is once again placing significant strain on the health care community," said Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke.
The Guard training program includes 75 hours of instruction that will then require a test to be passed before members can go into care centers, according to school officials.
"Typically this training is over three, to six, to eight weeks, but they are actually getting the 75 hours done in 10-11 days — it's really faced paced," said Laura Cleveland, director of customized training at Anoka Technical College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. “We weren't exactly sure how it was going to go but they have been incredible students and our instructors absolutely love them.”
Sixteen community colleges across Minnesota are part of the medical training with the Guard.
"This is a unique mission when you join the military; you don't expect to be helping out in a long-term care facility," said Lt. William Desmond, who is undergoing training. "When this came up I was pretty eager to jump at that. I really do enjoy the part of the National Guard of getting into the community and helping the community."
The training includes addressing the direct health care needs of patients including moving patients from their beds to wheelchairs, checking vital signs like blood pressure and taking care of wounds.
The Minnesota National Guard continues to make decisions about locations in the state where the newly trained members will be deployed.
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