FLCC provides training for downstate COVID unit workers

Finger Lakes Community College is providing online training to home health aides in New York City and Long Island so they can fill a critical need for nurse assistants in COVID-19 units.

United Healthcare Workers East, 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, has hired FLCC to provide the training based on the college’s reputation for online education and experience training certified nurse assistants in the Finger Lakes region.

Nurse assistant students watching demonstration at patient bed
Students in an FLCC training class for certified nurse assistants watch a demonstration.

Classes began Tuesday, April 21, for a pilot class of 22 home health aides, chosen because they have some health care experience. During a state of emergency, federal law allows many health care workers to work outside their normal scope of practice, provided they have training in a critical set of skills.

FLCC curriculum designers moved those skills, largely involving the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE, to the beginning of the 10-week class. This will allow the students in the pilot class to go to work in four weeks in COVID-19 recovery units while completing the course components that can be taught online.

Once the state of emergency ends, SEIU will arrange for the students to get remaining clinical training needed for certification under normal circumstances.

“We are so pleased that we are able to fill a need during a crisis and provide these workers with a path to advancement in the health care industry,” said FLCC President Robert Nye. “As soon as we heard from SEIU, our team went to work, shortening what is normally a 16-week course development process down to two weeks.”

The FLCC nurse assistant training program includes online assignments students can complete on their own schedules. In also includes videoconferencing from 6 to 9 p.m. three evenings per week.

Maggie Becker of Springwater, Livingston County, is a registered nurse and lead instructor for healthcare programs offered by FLCC’s Workforce and Career Solutions Office. The office typically provides training options shorter in duration than the college’s associate degree programs.

The class has been adapted so students can complete some hands-on portions at home. For example, Becker can watch students have a family member play the part of a patient while they conduct range of motion exercises or demonstrate proper techniques for helping a patient out of bed.

“This project could open doors to greater use of online learning in healthcare training. This would provide greater flexibility for students who have work and family commitments,” said Todd Sloane, FLCC’s director of workforce development.

FLCC conducts dozens of certified nurse assistant courses per year at its main campus, Geneva Campus Center, and in health care facilities around the region. About 250 people completed the program over the last year. FLCC’s Workforce and Career Solutions also offers online courses in certified electronic health records specialist, Spanish for Medical Professionals, Medical Billing and Coding and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Compliance. More information is available at flcc.edu/workforce/online.

For more information about nurse assistant training, email to workforce@flcc.edu.

Author: Lenore Friend

Lenore Friend is the community affairs director at FLCC and the college's liaison with Finger Lakes TV. Contact her at (585) 785-1623 or Lenore.Friend@flcc.edu.

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