There are more than 15,000 long-term care facilities in the U.S. with an estimated 5% of the current senior population finding homes there. By 2030, it is estimated 61 million people between 66 to 84 years old will be in need of nursing facilities. The National Institute calls this impending challenge the 2030 problem.

As a SNF manager, are you ready to meet the demand?

Nursing facilities can expect to be filled to max capacity. One of the top challenges managers will face will be adequately staffing their nursing facilities, not only with the sheer increase in numbers, but also with skilled certified nurse assistants. These nurse assistants provide essential care to patients and qualified candidates will keep the day-to-day operations of a SNF running smoothly.

The good news is CNA employment is projected to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. But skilled nursing assistants will also be in demand as other nursing facilities attempt to staff their teams. Managers will need to make their nursing facility stand out from the crowd and be proactive in finding CNAs rather than waiting for them to apply.

To accomplish this, SNF managers should build partnerships with CNA schools, refresh their marketing strategy for new hires, and offer forward advancement opportunities for currently employed nurse assistants.

Build partnerships with local schools

One of the best ways to recruit newly certified nurse assistants is to start at the beginning of their career – CNA schools. In order to become a CNA, candidates must complete a training program that includes a minimum of 50 hours of training, graduate from an accredited school, and pass the state test. Partnering with a local CNA school is the perfect opportunity for managers to create awareness about their nursing facility and hiring opportunities. These CNA training programs can be found all over the nation and include private schools, local community colleges, trade schools, and even the American Red Cross.

To find a CNA training program, check in with reliable sources that list the approved schools by state and city. It’s important to note that each state has its own CNA requirements and standardized test. For example, a SNF manager in Los Angeles should first educate themselves about the nursing requirements in California to understand what a new hire should be capable of. that manager should be aware of the state’s approved CNA schools in Los Angeles as well as the top-rated programs.

Build a list of at least five CNA training programs near your facility, and you can start your outreach in full force.

Here’s a few helpful steps to establishing a standout relationship with the local CNA training programs:

  1. Call the administrators and see if there is a career day coming up, or suggest coming in as a guest speaker. This is a great way to connect with students and share about your facility.
  2. Offer to help with subsidizing textbooks, or any supplies for the programs so that you are a needed component to the program.
  3. Establish your facility as an important bridge for their program by offering to host their students during their clinical training hours. This way you can get firsthand knowledge of candidates’ experience level before they even apply.
  4. Reach out to each graduating class and inform them of your employment openings and what you are looking for in a new hire candidate.

Create a fresh marketing campaign

The majority of nurse assistants are 25-to 34-years old, according to a PHI National study.  It’s important that SNF managers know how to properly communicate with this age group for job postings.

Social media is one of the top marketing tools in the world. Make sure your facility is up-to-date with its outreach marketing with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Twitter to keep the public and prospective employees aware of your standout facility. Once you establish your message and mission to your followers, begin to list the perks of working for your company, especially as a CNA. This is an excellent place to post job openings. You can further outreach by establishing relationships with professional recruiting agencies and online job sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn.

Help CNAs advance  

Establishing your SNF as a smoothly operating facility is also about retaining your current CNAs.

Overall employee satisfaction is key to ensure those newly hired nurse assistants stay on the job. Your patients will be happier with nurses they already know and a low turnover rate will keep expenses low. One way to accomplish this is to promote from within. While being a CNA is an entry-level positions, many applicants aspire to advance to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs).

Establish an on-the-job nurse training program. Allow them to build clinical hours and experience at your SNF so they can become specialized in a particular field. You should also establish an initiative to hire from within when CNAs complete the necessary certifications to become a LPN or RN. This employer-to-employee partnership will foster respect and reduce your staffing turnover.

Finally, remember this investment pays off. Employees talk, and being a good employe will help you recruit through sites such as Glassdoor, or through word-of-mouth.

Roxanne Baker is the media specialist and content writer for CNA Online Course.