In recognition of the experience temporary nurse aides who were hired during the pandemic received while combatting COVID-19, Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Daniel Benson sponsor a bill that would require officials to deem that temporary nurse aides have satisfied the training and competency requirements to become certified nurse aides (CNAs).
Normally, applicants who aspire to become a CNA in a licensed health care facility must successfully complete an approved training and competency evaluation program. During the pandemic, those requirements were waived in order to hire temporary nurse aides to help offset staffing shortages caused by COVID-19.
Under the bill (A-5353), the Department of Health would deem CNA requirements satisfied by any temporary nurse aide hired during the emergency who completed a training program during the pandemic – authorized under the COVID-19 waiver – and who worked a minimum of 80 hours under the supervision of a licensed professional nurse.
A certification or letter from the director of nursing attesting to the temporary nurse aide’s competency during that time period would be required. The aide would also have to comply with existing background check requirements and successfully complete the nurse aide written examination.
Upon the measure unanimously passing the full Assembly Thursday, sponsors Conaway (D-Burlington), Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Assemblyman Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) issued the following joint statement:
“Temporary nurse aides were and still are an important part of our state’s response to COVID-19. At a time when medical facilities were encountering staffing shortages, temporary nurse aides helped fill in the gaps and provide critical care to patients.
“This pandemic has pushed medical professionals beyond anything many had encountered before, meaning those on the front lines have undoubtedly gained real-world experience in the health care field.
“The admirable and compassionate service of the temporary nurse aides who willingly stepped up to aid New Jersey during this crisis deserves recognition. This legislation acknowledges the competency and professionalism they have demonstrated through accelerated training and experience, and will help them transition to fully certified nursing aides.”
The bill now heads to the Senate.