TACOMA, Wash. — MultiCare Health System is working to meet the growing need for more health care professionals by establishing a new nursing assistant training program.
A 2021 survey by the Washington State Hospital Association showed hospitals in Washington need to hire 6,100 new nurses to meet current staffing needs. Other data shows that nearly half of nurses and hospital staff plan to leave the industry in the next few years.
MultiCare’s new five-week paid training program has an inaugural class of six students training at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital starting this week.
Participants in the program will be full-time MultiCare employees. Once the students complete training, they will be able to take the state’s certification test and become certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The nursing assistants will be placed at a MultiCare hospital based on need.
“When we have additional nursing assistants at our hospitals, it allows our registered nurses to spend more time connecting with patients and working at the top of their license,” said Heather Coleman, vice president of clinical practice and professional development at MultiCare. “We believe this new program will supplement the other excellent CNA training programs in the region.”
MultiCare is looking to fill up to 200 CNA positions throughout the system. The organization currently works with nursing assistant programs at Tacoma Community College, Bates Technical College in Tacoma, and Sparrow Healthcare Education in Spokane.
Participants in the nursing assistant training program need to have a high school diploma or GED. Previous patient care experience is preferred. Classes will run every eight weeks, with the goal of increasing classes to 30 students. Current MultiCare employees are eligible to apply, as well as the public, provided they meet the program requirements.