If We Build It, Caregivers Will Come
This week we celebrate “Careers in Aging Week”—a national observance honoring the many career paths in the long term care profession. You hear so many stories of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who became nurses, who then became directors of nursing, and onward. The same was true for me. I started as a CNA and eventually became the administrator of a nursing home in my home state of Maine.
Building a career in long term care can be personally and professionally rewarding, but how do we get more job seekers to want to enter our field in the first place? This is the surmountable challenge facing providers today, as we grapple with a historic staffing shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, long term care facilities have lost more than 400,000 employees over the course of the pandemic—more than any other health care industry. Meanwhile, staff vacancies at many facilities sit open for months, even a year, and applicants are limited as many job seekers are now preferring work from home opportunities.