Upgrading the workforce

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					Upgrading the
   workforce
Extra education
boosts employee
professionalism


By John Andrews



D
          espite its long-held reputation as a work-
          place of last resort for job seekers that only
          offers low-wage, low-skill positions, the
long-term care field is actually a dynamic educational
environment for employees. And as the sector’s
labor needs continue to mushroom alongside the
aging population, so should training and advance-
ment opportunities, career specialists say.
   Job creation in long-term care is expected to con-
tinue climbing as the elderly population expands
each year. Over the past decade, the American
Health Care Association estimates the number of
long-term care jobs has risen by a steady 26% in
America’s nursing homes and a whopping 67% in
assisted living communities.
   “A growing need for jobs will undoubtedly lead to
more educational opportunities, career growth and
skill specialization development,” said Katherine
Lehman, AHCA manager of public affairs. “As
long-term care attracts individuals with a diverse set
of skills and education levels, facilities must strive
to ensure that there are educational opportunities
available for all rungs of the career ladder.”
   Training programs for direct care workers, leader-
ship development and career ladder training are all
initiatives that foster the growth and development of
the diverse long term care workforce, Lehman said.
   “Long-term care professionals should also focus
on the ever-evolving options for care and treatment
of more acute care and in the intricacies of caring for
Alzheimer’s and rehabilitation patients,” she said.
“There is also a great need for more specific training
in geriatrics, especially attracting younger and newer
nurses and nurse aides to this vital field.”

6 CareerGuide • McKnight’s
                                                                                                                   Strategies
   However, Diane Heasley, RN, vice president of
clinical services for Paterson, NJ-based DermaRite
                                                           “Increasing         City, OR-based aQuire Training Solutions.
                                                                                  “This is vital for the emerging needs of more
Industries, cautions that on-the-job education—            the supply          culturally diverse clients, as well as the recognition
while necessary—cannot be the sole responsibility          of qualified        that many caregivers are from culturally diverse
of the director of nursing.                                                    backgrounds,” she said “Bariatric care for obese
   “When I was a DON, I didn’t have time to go to          nurses is           residents is also an emerging area of study, especially
the bathroom—how could I possibly be an effective          key to the          for caregiver-level training. W
				
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