TidalHealth creates new program to solve staffing deficits, give residents more opportunities
DELMARVA- It’s no secret that COVID-19 changed the scope of healthcare as well as the challenges the field is seeing, but TidalHealth said they’re meeting that challenge with a new program.
“Healthcare is going to be here for the long term and this is a way to give this community a means to have stable and reliable income streams for their families, which they don’t have right now,” Rachel Bomar, the Employee Relations Specialist for TidalHealth, said.
TidalHealth is rolling out their Nursing Assistant Program and giving students the opportunity to get a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate or a Geriatric Nursing Assistant certificate. Hospital staff said they started designing this program after seeing staffing deficits tied to the pandemic.
“Right around this time last year, the Spring into Summer last year in healthcare was particularly brutal with COVID,” Bomar said. “There were a lot of staff COVID cases that led to absences in the workplace and that had a direct impact on the available staff members.”
These students will work at Alice Byrd Tawes, in Crisfield, as full time employees while getting clinical training.
“So, they can actually work and earn money and not have to take the time off,” Grant Manager with Lower Shore Workforce Alliance, said.
“We have a whole area of Delmarva that isn’t served by any program like this and that is Somerset County,” Bomar said. “Somerset County is the only lower county that does not have an adult-ed version or some support for a CNA program.”
Making the program accessible to Somerset County residents is just one of the reasons why organizations, like The Lower Shore Workforce Alliance, wanted to help bring this program to life with grant funding.
“We’ve had a hard time enrolling people in our previous programs because of transportation, the bus system is not always easy to navigate in order for people down in Crisfield,” Bomar said. “For instance, to get all the way up here to Salisbury to take classes at Wor-Wic.”
The program begins August 1 and will accept 8 candidates. Organizers said they hope to expand the program in the future to 16 students and also have some work at the campus in Salisbury.
TidalHealth submitted a proposal to the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance for grant funding under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The full request of over $150,000 was approved.