Demand prompts CMA training
Following up on the success of its training skills class that so far has turned out 100 new certified nursing assistants for health care facilities in the region, the Medical Leaders Roundtable is adding a certified medication assistant class to ...
Following up on the success of its training skills class that so far has turned out 100 new certified nursing assistants for health care facilities in the region, the Medical Leaders Roundtable is adding a certified medication assistant class to its roster.
The roundtable and health care-related classes came out of a need uncovered in the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.'s training center project. JSDC Administrative Program Coordinator Lisa Hicks co-chairs the roundtable, which has representatives from Jamestown College, local nursing homes, Jamestown Hospital and the high school.
"The seventh CNA training skills class ended the first week of June and the next one will start the last two weeks of August," Hicks said. "It doesn't seem to be letting up. Even high school kids are wanting to take the class. This has gone way beyond our expectations."
The training skills class readies its students to take the state CNA test through hands-on training. During the two weeks of class, students also study the book on their own in preparation for the test. So far, the students from all over the region taking the classes have had a 98 percent pass rate on the state test.
As the older generation grows, Hicks said, more CNAs will be needed, as will certified medication assistants -- another skilled and higher paying nursing position.
The CMA class is slated to begin July 6 at the James Valley Career and Technology Center in Jamestown. Seven students are already signed up. The course has been approved by the North Dakota Board of Nursing and was originally designed by staff at Hi-Acres Manor. Shar Gumke, director of nursing at Hi-Acres, was one of its creators.
"A CMA can administer routine-scheduled meds under the direction of a nurse," Gumke said. "It started as a pilot project in the 1990s and was taught throughout North Dakota. CMAs have only one responsibility -- passing meds -- and they have a very good track record."
The CMA course was created because in skilled-care facilities, such as Hi-Acres, a lot of the care involves administering routine medications. The meds can be given by mouth, under the tongue, in the ears, eyes, rectally or absorbed through the skin.
"Residents take a lot of meds and it's important to give the right dose at the right time," Gumke said. "It takes a lot of time."
CMAs have relieved nurses of that duty. However, CMAs do not give injections or non-routine medication.
Sister Pam Pranke, OP will be the instructor of the CMA class, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. two days a week for four weeks. Pranke has a master's degree in nursing education and is planning 40 hours of lecture and eight hours of clinical lab.
"I'm thinking it will be lecture the first day and the second day will be lecture plus lab," Pranke said. "The students will learn about medications, the kinds, how they work in the body, and legal and ethical responsibilities. Safety is the most emphasized."
Gumke and Pranke also emphasize the responsibilities a CMA has dealing with a multitude of medications. It's why the class runs 48 hours with a 32-hour preceptorship in a skilled nursing facility, working with a nurse in giving medications.
"The preceptorship sets it in cement for the student," Gumke said. "They learn how to really use the concepts from class."
The cost of the class is $600 and students must be a registered nursing assistant or a registered CNA with a year's experience. They must have a letter of recommendation from the director of nursing at the facility where they will do their preceptorship.
Hicks said a $5,000 grant from the Eastern North Dakota Area Health Education Center has been received to cover the cost of supplies, including practice medications (sugar pills). Some of those grant funds, along with $500 from the Jamestown Community Foundation, will be used to cover costs in the CNA training skills program as well. The Jamestown Medical Foundation has contributed $3,500 for scholarships for the training skills class.
To get a registration form or more information, call the Career and Tech Center at 701-252-8841 or Hicks at 701-252-6861.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com