It’s no secret there’s a serious workforce shortage in aging care. Facilities need CNAs, yet many people remain underemployed in this country without funds or time to enroll in traditional CNA courses that could change their lives. Traditional certified nursing courses aren’t keeping up with demand. To support the silver tsunami, there must be a change in the status quo. The answer is hybrid learning for CNAs.

Everyone wins when students have easier access to CNA classes. A hybrid model that blends online coursework with in-person, hands-on skills training led by an RN provides a flexible learning environment while maintaining high standards and meeting state regulatory requirements.

For the hybrid model to work, all parties in the mix, state regulators, facilities and students, need to feel comfortable with the solution.

To meet state regulator’s compliance requirements, the hybrid model provides:

  • A crosswalk of the curriculum to demonstrate how the online course modules combine with in-person skills training
  • Within the online platform, data tracking across all student and instructor activity to provide analytics including students’ engagement times, course assignment submissions, quiz and test scores
  • Permanent audit trail of student information
  • Best-of-breed nationally-acclaimed American Health Care Association (AHCA) curriculum
  • Quick implementation of updates for new regulations

Benefits to facilities seeking certified/licensed clinical caregivers include:

  • Flexible online learning that provides an attractive alternative for today’s busy lifestyle and appeals to millennials as well as interested parties who are currently employed, which allows an increased number of candidates to engage in the process of becoming certified
  • In-person clinical training which allows the hiring organization to know and assess the caregiver qualities first-hand while introducing them to the culture
  • In-person clinicals that use the exact equipment and processes of the hiring organization which allows for smoother onboarding of new CNAs
  • Standardized curriculum for simplified implementation across an organization’s multiple sites
  • Availability to start classes any time
  • Two instructors working together for the success of students (one for online portion and one for in-person, hands-on clinicals)

Students seeking to become certified/licensed CNAs can enjoy:

  • The ability to continue working while earning a career-enhancing certification/license
  • Flexibility to complete required course work at times that work for their schedules
  • Clinical instruction and technical support as well as 24/7 access to coursework
  • Face-to-face skills training to experience the job role, engage with residents and work with the organization’s equipment
  • Audio component for entire curriculum and gamification features to help with learning
  • Easily accessible review of material 24/7

Residents and their families seeking high quality of care – and life – will benefit from:

  • Enhanced skills training of caregivers
  • Newly-certified nurse assistants who are quickly onboarded because of hands-on training with the facility’s equipment and processes
  • Better service overall due to additional talent pool of CNAs

Attempting to fill CNA spots at aging care facilities with the current model isn’t working. To address today’s needs as well as prepare for the many people who will soon need long-term care, we must look at other options. Accessible career development opportunities are critical to reduce turnover, enhance skills building and attract career-minded professionals to the aging care industry. Hybrid learning that combines online coursework with in-person, hands-on skills training is a great start.

John P. Reinhart is president and co-founder of and a trained CNA. John can be reached at [email protected].