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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Board has approved creating a registered nurse trainer position for The Neighbors of Dunn County as a first step in developing an in-house training program for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).
This is the first step and creates the availability of a position for a registered nursing training specialist but does not activate the position, said Kelly McCullough, chair of the Dunn County Board, at the county board’s September 20 meeting.
The Neighbors is working to create an on-site CNA training program, said Jenalee Nutter, Dunn County human resources director.
Research has shown that when there is an on-site training program, the graduates of the program often will stay to work at the facility, she said.
Savings on the cost of training CNAs will offset the cost of the position, she said.
To start the process for obtaining the license to be a training facility, a training specialist position must be created, Nutter said.
If the position is created, and the Neighbors committee decides to move forward with implementing the program, then the position can be filled, she said.
Mike Kneer, Dunn County supervisor from Menomonie, said he was in full support of establishing a CNA training program at The Neighbors.
The Neighbors has had staffing challenges, and an on-site program to train and recruit CNAs might be beneficial, McCullough said.
The staff at The Neighbors works hard and does a good job, said Larry Bjork, county board supervisor from Menomonie.
The Neighbors provides health care for senior citizens, and the training would help to fill positions that are good jobs, he said.
“If we can train CNAs locally, I’m all for it,” Bjork said.
Mike Rogers, county board supervisor from Menomonie, said he was hesitant about the position.
With salary and benefits of $96,000, there is no guarantee the position will encourage anyone to work at The Neighbors, he said.
There are other ways to recruit staff for The Neighbors, Rogers said, adding that he questioned if an in-house training program is the most cost-effective way to recruit employees.
The Dunn County Board unanimously approved a resolution to amend the inventory of job classes to include a registered nurse training specialist.
According to background information included with the resolution, “The primary purpose of the position contemplated in this job classification would be to serve as the leader of education, development and training for the nursing department. This would include being the instructor for in-house Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes, as well as conducting annual and return education for current staff. This role also would be responsible for conducting audits of staff compliance and performing ad-hoc education when needed.”
The recommendation is to place the position in Grade N of the NDC wage schedule, with a position title of RN Training Specialist.
The 2022 pay range for Grade N is $31.29 to $41.03 per hour, according to the background information.