Lee Health will pay nursing school candidates to become CNAs

To boost the nursing pipeline, Fort Myers, Fla.-based Lee Health is offering a certified nursing assistant training program that recently expanded to community members, Jennifer Thayer, the health system's manager of workforce planning and development, told Becker's.

Lee Health initially established the program in January 2021 for employees who weren't yet certified as CNAs but had an interest in going into nursing care.

"We started it as a paid program for our employees to take a six-week training course at our local technical schools where we pay for the training, we pay their salary while they're in training," Ms. Thayer said. "We also offer them opportunities to train [in a hospital setting]. And at the end of the six-week training, we pay for their licensure exam, and they then transfer directly into a full-time CNA job."

Now, Lee Health has expanded the program to community members interested in becoming a CNA. 

Ms. Thayer said individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent may apply to Lee Health as a CNA trainee and, if accepted, will be hired by Lee Health, which will pay for their training, education and certification. At the end of the six-week training, they would transfer into full-time employment with the health system as a CNA. 

"The hope for them is that they can continue their journey through our professional education and tuition assistance to become either a licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse," Ms. Thayer said. "So, we're paying for that entry level to the career pathway for nursing." 

Lee Health graduated 15 CNAs through the program last year. An additional 15 people signed upso far this year. Seats are still available for the next class, which begins in April.

More information about the CNA training is available here

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