MN National Guard Members become CNAs

MN National Guard Members become Certified Nursing Assistants with the Help of Minneapolis College

Minneapolis College recently completed training for 40 members of the National Guard to become emergency Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). 

Long-term care facilities are severely understaffed — one of the many effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — which prompted Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to activate 400 National Guard members into response teams. Minneapolis College and 15 other Minnesota State colleges have partnered to provide the education necessary to turn Guard members into CNAs.

The training spanned 75 hours over eight days and took place both in-person and online. Guard members learned about care protocols and practiced the techniques on mannequins and fellow guardsmen. Thirty-nine of 40 class members passed the Nursing Assistant Test Out (NATO) on Dec. 5 with an average score of 93 percent.

There was also perfect attendance for the entirety of the program, according to Suzanne Ciebiera from Continuing Education & Workforce Development at Minneapolis College. “It is unusual to have almost 100 percent of a class pass their NATO,” said Ciebiera. “The instructors really enjoyed working with this group and loved the way they helped each other.”

She noted that Public Safety, Central Specialties, the College Store and Nursing Program staff also contributed to the success of the program.

Instructor and nurse practitioner Karyn Brinker made sure to emphasize to Guard members one of the most important parts of the job: being authentic. “I told them to fully enjoy the opportunity ... to listen to their stories. I encouraged them to take time to find joy in the opportunity and thanked them profusely for their service.”

Those who passed the NATO will also be placed on the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry and will be eligible to work as a nursing assistant as civilians. 

“This collaboration between Continuing Education & Workforce Development and the School of Nursing at Minneapolis College is important to meeting the critical workforce need for Certified Nursing Assistants in Minnesota," said Traci Kause, Dean of the School of Nursing, Health Sciences and Wellness. “As Covid-19 continues to impact communities, the need for support in long-term care facilities throughout the state will likely continue well into the new year.”

A second group of 40 students began on Dec. 8 and will finish with the NATO exam on Dec. 18

Share This Story