Advanced nursing assistant education program.

BACKGROUND: Nursing assistants provide 90% of the care to the elderly residents of nursing homes, but are the least educated direct-care employees. Supervisory workers believe that nursing assistants require additional training to meet the increasingly complex needs of nursing home residents.

METHODS: A day-long training program for experienced nursing assistants was provided to supplement their basic education. Using a pre- and posttest design, the effectiveness of the program for knowledge acquisition and application was tested. Future education needs were identified through a gap analysis.
RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in knowledge for nursing assistants attending the program. The attendees expressed interest in receiving additional education on dementia and infection control. All attendees identified a problem unique to their facility and were able to plan a detailed intervention and develop outcome measures for that plan.
CONCLUSIONS: Nursing assistants enrolled in this advanced training program expressed a desire for additional education to help them advance their caregiving skills. Advanced education is one method to increase job satisfaction among nursing assistants that can improve the quality of care for nursing home residents.